East Anglian soft furnishing firm’s jobs boost

SOFT furnishings manufacturer Brian Fisher & Sons is to create up to 100 new jobs following major growth in demand.

SOFT furnishings manufacturer Brian Fisher & Sons is to create up to 100 new jobs following major growth in demand.

The company, based in Harleston, on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, specialises in hand-made and machine sewn curtains and soft furnishings, which it supplies to customers including John Lewis, Liberty and the Silk Trading Company at Harrods.

Bosses at the firm have announced plans to grow from 40 to up to 140 staff in 2010 to meet growing orders from existing clients and recent contract wins, and establish a national sales team to generate new business.

In the first phase of the expansion the company will be recruiting production, administrative and development staff, and interviews are currently taking place for the key role of business development manager.

In addition to the new jobs the company plans to take on up to nine teenage apprentices.

An open day, run in conjunction with Jobcentre Plus, was run this week in Harleston for people interested in roles at the company.

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Stephen Fisher, company director, who runs the business with his twin brother Paul, said Brian Fisher & Sons had seen a 15pc increase in turnover in 2009 to about �1.2m, and said the growth was partly driven by the demise of competitors.

He said: “What 2009 basically did was sorted the wheat from the chaff. The companies that are left are the stronger companies with stronger foundations.

“All the chaff has gone, but the customers that were using the chaff are still around, and everyone is coming back to quality and good service. If you can provide customers with that they will stay with you.

“Others that have not quite offered the same quality and service have fallen by the wayside, and now is the time for the companies that remain to push forward and fill in the gaps previous companies have left.”

The company was founded by the brothers’ father, Brian, 25 years ago, and recently featured on Channel 4’s The Home Show and The Hotel Inspector on Channel 5.

Stephen Fisher said the company prided itself on working to the traditional values their father introduced when he started the business.

“However, as the industry has progressed, we have moved with it, to ensure that we can meet market demands. The expansion is part of this process and will allow us to continue to develop and evolve the business.”

Karyn Fish, account manager at Jobcentre Plus in Kings Lynn, welcomed the jobs boost.

“We are committed to working with employers to help more people back into work and fill vital positions, she said. “This activity with Brian Fisher and Sons is a great example of how owrking in partnership can benefit the employer and the local community.”

Anyone interested in the new roles being created should contact Karen Scott at Jobcentre Plus (Diss) on 01379 614333.