Managing director of Hadleigh-based Challs optimistic that new high-tech office heralds period of growth

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge (left) and Challs MD Graham Burchell in the company's new office at

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge (left) and Challs MD Graham Burchell in the company's new office atrium - Credit: Archant

East Anglian household cleaning products manufacturer Challs has been in business for 27 years but recent events make it seem like in some ways the company is starting anew.

Less than three years ago Challs’ head office on the Lady Lane Industrial Estate in Hadleigh, Suffolk was destroyed by a fire but last month a new state-of-the-art building, standing on the same location, was opened.

There is a lot of technology incorporated into the office with 18kms of cables hidden behind walls and panels, according to managing director Graham Burchell. The whole operation has been made as paperless as possible - one example is the electronic tablets positioned on walls outside every meeting room to tell people who has booked them and when.

With these high tech surroundings, Mr Burchell says it feels like a “new company with familiar faces” and that he hopes the new office will “act as a springboard” for further growth.

“Since the fire we have taken our foot off the gas in terms of production but we are now ramping up and looking at new potential markets and new product development,” he added.

Additional space has been included into the new build to allow for expansion but as yet there are no firm plans as to what this growth might look like.

The EDP/EADT Future 50 company produces a portfolio of leading brands including Bin Buddy, Knaus and its market-leadinng flagship Buster range of plughole cleaning products and Mr Burchell said one idea the firm was considering was branching out into other areas such as the toiletries and personal care markets.

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Another avenue being explored by Challs is an expansion of its international footprint. While the company manufactures all its products in Suffolk, they are shipped around the world and the business operates satellite offices in locations including Singapore and Australia.

“There are some key considerations when entering a new market - you have to understand the local legislation and if the country uses a different language, it will affect your packaging,” continued Burchell who said the company had an advantage in overseas markets, especially in Asia, because it can “trade on its Britishness”.

“The Made in the UK marque does still stand for something,” he added.