Future 50: Busy winter sets Caribbean Blinds up for summer expansion
- Credit: Caribbean Blinds
Sudbury firm growing as lockdown fuels rise in home improvements.
“Traditionally, from Easter to the August Bank Holiday is our busiest period,” says Stuart Dantzic, MD of Caribbean Blinds. “With the pandemic, that's not been the case... Our business was as busy in January as we are in our peak summer months.”
The Future 50 firm produces external shading systems – from patio awnings and external blinds to the award-winning louvred-roof featured in its range of Outdoor Living Pods. Everything is produced in its Sudbury factory, backed up by a five-year guarantee.
While people who have found themselves spending more time at home under the lockdowns have turned to Caribbean Blinds to enhance their gardens, Mr Dantzic doesn’t think customers will stop coming once the pandemic is over. “I think this is a rekindled love of our homes and gardens,” he says. “I don't see this trend towards outdoor living in the UK slowing down.
“It’s echoed across the whole home-improvement sector - so not just ourselves or outdoor companies, but also the home improvement companies, whether it's windows, doors, kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, sofas and so on.”
However, the busy winter has caused some headaches: “Normally that is a downtime for us, when we take review the past 12 months and look forward. This year, we haven't had that breathing space,” Mr Dantzic says.
"We were aiming to implement a new computer software system, to streamline our manufacturing process, make it virtually paperless and automate our reordering process, but it's a several-month project and that’s had to be put on the back burner.”
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What is forging ahead is an extension of the factory. “It is great news for our growth as a company, but it's also great news for the local community because we are working with local builders, rather than firms outside of the area,” Mr Dantzic says.
The factory extension, which will allow Caribbean Blinds to reduce lead times by holding more stock, should be complete by October and will instantly create half-a-dozen new jobs. “Then over the next 12-18 months, it will lead to another 20-24 jobs, says Mr Dantzic.
For further information, see www.cbsolarshading.co.uk