The Essentials Company is a specialist garden supplies business in Attleborough, Norfolk, set up eight years ago by Jason and Louise Wilson. Here the couple explain how the Growing Business Fund supported their move into new premises and the recruitment of their first employee.
Why we applied for the grant
We are a small business having grown from offices and a garage at home to leasing a small warehouse. Seven years of steady growth later and our business had become constrained by the building we were in, giving us storage and health and safety issues. We needed a more permanent home with more floor space and height for both bulk storage and picking space. We had grown to a point of needing staff but our current building wasn’t the right environment, especially during the current pandemic.
For us to be able to buy new premises and the equipment to make it an effective workplace would have been financially difficult. So we contacted New Anglia Growth Hub for some business support and were partnered with a coach. We discussed the situation we were in and it was suggested that the Growing Business Fund could support us in partially funding new premises and equipment.
How the new premises has benefited the company
Buying the new premises has enabled us to introduce a bulk storage area, freeing up huge sections of floor space to create open, efficient and safe picking locations. We were able to invest in pallet racking, an electric pallet stacker and suitable racking for storage. In addition, we were able to build a fit-for-purpose packing area so everything is to hand and during those cold winter months we can heat a smaller location, rather than waste energy heating an entire warehouse.
The support of the Growing Business Fund has helped us accelerate the next phase of our business growth at a time when it was needed. We now have the room to grow and the security to invest in other areas of our business and feel positive about our future.
Why we are offering flexible working hours to recruits
We are excited to be welcoming our first employee to The Essentials Company at the end of February, with two more staff planned later in the year. The lady joining us will be working during term time, three days a week, 9.30-2.30. We offered these hours specifically around the school run. Having brought up a family ourselves, we really appreciate the flexibility of being there for the children, as well as the fulfilment of working. Having staff will free up more time for us to be able to grow and improve the business further.
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