UK’s last wheelbarrow maker doubles production to meet soaring demand

The UK's only wheelbarrow manufacturer, The Walsall Wheelbarrow Company, has more than doubled its capacity and is set to hit £10 million turnover after securing a £450,000 funding package from Lloyds Bank.

The Walsall Wheelbarrow Company was founded by the Thacker family from their garden shed in the 1940s.

Today it is the last remaining wheelbarrow manufacturer in the UK, supplying customers across the construction, agriculture and retail sectors.

Recently it has seen an increase in orders from retail customers including Amazon, Homebase and Screwfix, thanks to a growing number of Brits taking up gardening.

Capitalising on growing demand

In order to expand capacity to capitalise on the growing demand, the family firm used a £450,000 hire purchase facility from Lloyds Bank to invest in a new powder painting machinery to spray paint its products without impacting day to day cashflow.

The new machinery has helped increase capacity by 133 per cent, meaning the business can now produce 3,500 wheelbarrows a day, compared with 1,500 previously.

Turnover is set to grow from £8.4 million to £10million.

"The hire purchase facility has enabled us to invest in top-of-the-range machinery that will increase our efficiency without having a negative impact on our working capital."

Jonathan Thacker, owner, The Walsall Wheelbarrow Company

Walsall Wheelbarrow

Jonathan added: "The new machine uses around 40 per cent less energy than the previous one, so we're saving on electricity and gas while reducing our carbon footprint.

"Lloyds Bank has been by our side throughout the entire investment and has taken the time to understand what we want for our business."

The business has seen particular success with its Barrow-in-a-Box product, a ready-to-assemble wheelbarrow that comes in a small, portable box, which was designed in response to demand from the retail sector.

"A continued focus on innovation and new product development has kept The Walsall Wheelbarrow Company at the forefront of the industry."

Phil Davies, relationship director, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking

Innovation and expansion

Phil Davies added: "Its expanded capacity will enable it to continue to succeed in a nation of avid gardeners.

"Helping local, family-run businesses to expand and maximise on demand is a big part of our commitment to helping Britain prosper."

The news comes after Lloyds Bank announced it would be lending up to £2.5billion to West Midlands businesses in 2019.

All lending is subject to status.

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