New building, new business

How one firm’s relocation is helping it to expand

Glasgow furniture maker Aquapac is seeing huge benefits after moving to a new building, with Barclays financing helping to drive further growth.

Furniture manufacturer Aquapac Ltd has seen a surge in growth since relocating in 2017, with further expansion on the cards as it looks to maximise the potential its new premises is providing.

Much of the fuel for Aquapac’s strong trading is coming from £890,000 worth of successful financing, which has provided working capital to invest in the business.

“We purchased a dilapidated property and renovated it, then approached Barclays for a mortgage on it,” says Stephen Connachan, Managing Director of Aquapac. “The financing released all the money we’d spent on our building and it’s really helping us to grow to the next level.”

Expanding through investment

Before the relocation, Aquapac was primarily a niche manufacturer of furniture for the pet sector, producing aquarium cabinets and other items such as reptile enclosures.

Now, the company has expanded into contract furnishing for a range of markets, including hospitals, hotels and student accommodation. It’s also increased its export business and recently moved into the bespoke kitchen, bedroom and bathroom market. From a standing start it is now producing 25 bespoke kitchens a week.

The ability to take on so many new projects is partly down to the way the business has used the funds provided by Barclays. These helped to pay for an office refurbishment, a viewing platform from which they could see the production line and state-of-the-art equipment to help increase production and drive efficiencies. 

“We invested heavily in computerised machinery,” says Stephen. “Customers can commission us for a project, we visualise it on our system so they can see what it looks like, and it then automatically programs all our machinery to make the product. They can even see it being built through our new viewing platform. We’re getting huge efficiency savings while increasing our production.”

Building the relationship

Another benefit for Stephen is the relationship he has with Barclays, which was recommended to Aquapac through a Commercial Finance Broker.

“After our first meeting, we realised that we could incorporate some of the other smaller finance arrangements Aquapac had into our facility,” says Tom Every, Aquapac’s Business Manager. “It reduced the monthly outgoings, and we knew that having one facility over a longer period of time would help the business’s cash flow.”

“Whenever I need any help Tom is available to support me, and both he and the Area Business Manager have been out to see us,” says Stephen. “It’s great to see them showing such an interest in the company and demonstrates that they believe in our business.”

The next steps include plans to increase staff numbers from 32 to 40 over the next 18 months, while Aquapac is also discussing another financing arrangement with Barclays to help it purchase a new warehouse.

“Our business is growing so well that it’s given us more confidence,” says Stephen. “We want to make further efficiencies by moving some of the raw materials out of the manufacturing building, which would give us more space. It will allow us to do more contract furnishing and more kitchens – we want to get up to 50 kitchens a week.

“Aquapac’s substantial growth, over a relatively short period, is down to having a strong plan, employing great people and making sure that everybody is engaged in the vision for its future”. 

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