HUNDREDS of people will be opening presents on Christmas Day that have been made in Rossendale.
James Stroud, owner of Rossendale Bespoke Timber in Blackburn Road, Haslingden, decided to apply for a stall at Manchester Christmas Markets, which attract 9.6million visitors over six weeks.
Every stall has 70 businesses competing for the pitch, but his novel hand crafted wooden items proved an instant hit with the organisers.
James said: “It is definitely one of the best things I’ve done in 18 years of business.
“I’ve literally had thousands of people smiling and loving the products, people who are just trying to walk through see our stall and come over, the energy of it is fantastic.
“The feedback has been just amazing. Many people had heard of Rossendale, they knew about the ski slope and spoke with affection about the area.
“After the first day I realised that I needed a lower priced product so I made a door wedge with Hodor engraved – people who follow Game of Thrones snapped them up and we sold hundreds.
“Then came the wooden spoons and we put bake off on them and personalised them. We sold 57 in one day.
“I realised that these items have been bought to wrap up for presents, so on Christmas Day all over this country and in Spain, Italy and America people will unwrap a gift that has been made in Rossendale.”
A whole collection of different chopping boards were created, rustic and refined, and all made from hard woods with a stag’s head engraved on, a nod to Rossendale and the family of deer that visit the paddock near James’s home in Haslingden.
He said: “I found out in August that I had the stall outside the Corn Exchange. I always have a head full of designs, but I must confess two weeks before the stall opened in November, I didn’t have 80 per cent of the range. I always work better under pressure.”
In November his company won the Made In Rossendale category at Rossendale Business Awards, last year he won the Apprentice of the Year, and this year he sponsored the category.
He said: “That was the award I really wanted to win and the certificate is on display at the cabin and people have commented on it.
“What I have enjoyed has been the positivity towards what I am doing.”
Next year he is going to focus on personalised home products and the company has been commissioned to provide heritage gates for the Haworth Art Gallery in Accrington.