A family-owned cleaning and janitorial supplies specialist which has operated in Shrewsbury since 1976, is setting its sights on increased revenues and a wider geographical reach following an extensive refurbishment project which has been made possible thanks to a grant supported by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Arrow County Supplies specialises in the distribution of janitorial supplies and cleaning products to a wide range of customers across both the public and commercial sectors. With an extensive and growing range of products which includes its own brand Andarta range, the pressure which its existing two units on Longden Road in Shrewsbury were coming under made it increasingly apparent that change was required.
The grant worth over £40,000 is part of the £2.5m Marches Building Investment Grant (MBIG) which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and has enabled Arrow County to carry out an extensive refurbishment project as Bruce Blackledge, Managing Director, explains:
“Ten years ago, we designed and built our base on Longden Road in Shrewsbury and it has served us well for many years. However, with ambitious plans to significantly increase our revenue over the coming 18 months, as well as our capacity to employ additional locally-based staff, whilst driving greater efficiencies throughout our customer experience, sourcing streams, marketing and HR, it became apparent that we’d need to reconfigure our existing facilities.”
The grant received by Arrow County Supplies has been put towards a total reconfiguration of the ground floor to create a distinct “Innovation Area” where new products can be showcased to the industry and support growth in the sales pipeline. As a consequence, the existing canteen and staff welfare facilities have been extended and upgraded to accommodate this anticipated growth.
Work has involved the removal of walls to create a new open plan spaces and the integration of different floor surfaces and displays to create distinct work and demonstration areas to serve the business’s varied client base and as Bruce explains, receiving the grant has made a significant difference:
“Looking to significantly increase our revenue was never going to be a case of simply selling more products to more customers. We knew that to create cut through in new markets and increase our exposure to existing customers, we’d need to create something special that would bring the quality and innovation in what we supply to life.
“Developing space which could be dedicated to showcasing our products, allowing customers to see them in action and being able to listen to their feedback was, therefore, the route we needed to take and the MBIG funding has made a tangible difference in achieving this.”
Speaking on behalf of the MBIG grant scheme, Programme Manager Caroline Cattle, adds:
“The scheme, which is open to businesses across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, is intended to support those which need to finance extensions, renovations or reconfigurations in order to realise their growth potential. It’s, therefore, been a pleasure to witness how the team at Arrow County Supplies has utilised its grant so that both the existing and future workforce, as well as the customer base benefits from the improved facilities and better use of space.
“The fact that at least two additional jobs will be created as a consequence of this development is an added bonus”
Bruce found out about the funding from the Marches Growth Hub website and found the application process very easy to complete. Without the funding it is likely that Bruce and the team at Arrow County would have needed to seek finance elsewhere which would have delayed the improvement works being carried out.
Open to B2B businesses, the MBIG scheme awards grants of up to 45% of the total project costs (to a maximum £100,000). These are intended to cover conversion and alteration costs. They cannot be used towards purchasing property, equipment, or ‘excessive’ landscaping costs. Nor can they be made retrospectively.
Applicants to the Marches Building Investment Grant can be either owner-occupiers or tenants although for the latter, they must have a fixed term lease with at least six years unexpired.