Upholstery firm secures future with £800k loan

A Southwest upholstery business has expanded its operations by 70% and its manufacturing capacity by 40%, thanks to support from Lloyds Bank. 

Bristol-based firm Southwest Upholstery that repairs, recovers, and manufactures seating, has seen demand increase for its products and services by 30% as summer trading picks up across the region for the firm’s key hospitality and leisure customers.

To embrace this growth opportunity, the business approached Lloyds Bank, securing an £862,000 funding package. The support allowed the firm to purchase a CNC machine and increase its total operating space by 75%.

Southwest Upholstery’s new technology will help produce an additional 2500 units per year with its two new units resulting in the firm’s manufacturing capacity increasing by 40%. 

Founded in 1999, the family business currently employs 25 people. With the new changes in place, the business expects to increase its turnover from £3.5m in 2022 to £4.5m this year.

Southwest Upholstery has also recently launched its own academy in order to secure future craftsmen. The business has constructed a purpose built training area for its upholsterers with plans to bring on three apprentices this year.

Ryan Ball, director at Southwest Upholstery, said: “Upholstery isn’t always at the forefront of innovation so it’s crucial we introduce the changes needed to secure the next generation of craftsmanship. Like all businesses, we have peaks and dips in demand so it’s vital we adapt quickly to provide a reliable service for customers. 

“The support provided by Lloyds Bank has allowed us to lay down foundations that will fuel the business’ growth for the next five to ten years. It will also inject a new lease of life into our manufacturing process through state-of-the-art technology that will help us provide a continued quality product to our customers.”

The business has also recently received separate funding to invest in its green credentials by installing 40 solar panels on the roof of its headquarters in Bristol. The 14KW capacity panels will have the power to service 60% of the business’ energy demand. 

John Howell, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank, said: “Manufacturers have been at the forefront of a variety of economic challenges throughout the last two years. So, it’s encouraging to see a business like South West Upholstery making moves to futureproof and streamline its operations while taking advantage of seasonal uplift in demand. We’re proud to support a local business like this that continues to showcase the gold standard within their trade, and we look forward to seeing them embrace new growth opportunities for years to come.”

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