Firm snowed under by demand

A FIRM has been snowed under with demand for one of its seasonal products.

Challs International Ltd, based at Hadleigh, has been hit by a sales blizzard this month as demand for its ice clearing granules soared during due to the cold snap.

The company, which makes a range of products including drain cleaner Buster, has sold half a million units of Ice Clear in the past month as shivering householders grapple with icy steps and frozen driveways.

Last year, Ice Clear, which was relaunched in August 2009 following a rebranding exercise, saw sales of 65,000.

The product, which is aimed at clearing frost, ice and snow and can be used up to 12 hours before frost, ice or snow forms, is biodegradable and less corrosive than salt, its makers say.

Company boss Graham Burchell said the firm, which employs 45, had to take on extra temporary staff to cope with demand and had been working flat out to get out orders before their 10-day Christmas factory closure, which started yesterday. It was all hands to the deck, and even office staff pulled up their shirtsleeves to get the last orders out.

“There’s a great atmosphere in there. Everyone is in there picking the last orders up, even the office staff,” he said.

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“This year has been a bumper year. It’s a situation where it’s bad for some and good for others. We treat it as an addition to normal business,” he said.

The product, which the firm produces seasonally and to order, is being sold to a range of retailers, including Wilkinsons and Macro.

“We have got more orders coming in as we speak. A number of the big retailers have come to us and said: ‘Can we have some?’”

“The staff have been working really hard right up to the wire this year,”” said Mr Burchell.

“It’s a nice way for us to finish the year.”