A TWENTY-five year plan has finally been implemented and the £1.35m investment will regenerate an historic industrial area of Rossendale.
Victoria Works in Cloughfold, Rawtenstall, was first eyed up by leading employer JJO, of Bacup, when fire devastated the company’s headquarters at Olive Mill in 1989.
Joint managing director of the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom manufacturers Stephen Greenhalgh recalled: “At the time we were negotiating with the insurers deciding what to do and we looked at purchasing Victoria Works, then owned by Smith and Nephew, so we could continue production.
“As it happens, for a number of reasons, we ended up rebuilding on the Bacup site and the plan was dropped.”
The recent recession has hit many manufacturing businesses hard, but JJO has ridden the storm and the company’s projected turnover for 2015 is £40m – almost back to where the company was before the recession.
As a result of business booming, the company was looking to expand. When Stephen spotted that Victoria Works was back on the market, he rekindled the old plan.
“In the last six months we have been struggling with capacity,” he said. “We reintroduced the nightshift in October and have taken on 25 new people in the last six months but we still needed more room.
“When I saw the works was on the market it was just perfect. We have already moved the bedroom section into the vacant part of the ground floor.
“Our next move it to get the inside painted, internally remodel and then we will move the bathroom department in.
“This expansion means we are going to be able to meet demand and it will enable us to increase capacity and production and continue to expand our business.”
Stephen predicted that the turnover next year will be record breaking.
He added: “The economy is improving and I think we are delivering a level of service in terms of quality and design that the public wants.”
JJO was founded more than 100 years ago and employs nearly 400 staff.
The company produces more than 600 kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms every week, which are sold all over the world. JJO was recently awarded the FIRA Gold certificate in recognition of its high-quality furniture production.
The company was advised on the purchase by Lancashire and Greater Manchester solicitors Woodcocks, Haworth and Nuttall.
Partner Gary Jones said: “It’s pleasing to see a Lancashire business expand and the new premises will allow JJO to continue to develop on a national level and grow within the manufacturing sector.”