Business ‘running out of space’ due to demand for hand wash products

A North Warwickshire business says it is running out of space in its warehouse after a rising demand for its hand wash products.

Catering Equipment moved from 5,000 sq ft premises in Tyseley, Birmingham, to a 25,000 sq ft unit in Grendon Road, Polesworth, last May.

Before Covid-19, the business specialised in supplying wash basins to the catering and hygiene industry.

But since the pandemic they have seen a rise in demand from hospitals throughout the UK for portable stainless steel sinks.

Following their move, the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub introduced Catering Equipment to Warwickshire County Council for one-to-one support via the European Regional Development Fund CW Business – Start, Grow and Scale Programme.

The council helped Catering Equipment address various challenges in the business including raising finance. Catering Equipment received a grant for £1,532 from the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme Investment Fund towards the £7,660 cost of racking in the warehouse.

The Growth Hub also introduced them to the Coventry and Warwickshire Green Business Programme which is partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is being delivered by Coventry City Council.

Catering Equipment invested £8,800 at its new premises supported by an additional £3,500 Green Business Programme grant which has resulted in a new combination boiler, air conditioning units and radiant heater, leading to around 47.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission savings per year and reduced energy costs.

Catering Equipment also received a grant for £1,532 from the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme Investment Fund towards the £7,660 cost of racking in the warehouse.

The grants are part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and are being delivered by Coventry City Council who are the accountable body.

Anthony Prestage, a director at Catering Equipment Ltd, said the business was established 25 years ago to import high-quality catering equipment from Italy, Germany and France.

“It is always important to adapt to the market and that has been our plan over the last few weeks,” he said.

“We always try to be aware of market demands and with social distancing, there has been an increase in interest for portable sinks which can be moved to different wards or production lines.

“We have sold products to a number of hospitals including Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and we are also talking to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for specialist hand basin equipment for 300 soldiers to wash their hands at the same time.

“When we moved to North Warwickshire, we didn’t think we would use all the warehouse space but it is currently stacked to the roof with our 638 product lines.

“The Growth Hub has been extremely helpful in advising us because after moving to new premises, we wanted to improve the heating and hot water systems by replacing the current boiler, air conditioning units and the warehouse hot air blowers with a radiant heater so the grants were really useful in helping to make this happen.

“With more and more businesses returning to work and thinking about installing hand washing sinks at exits and entrances, we will continue to operate a delivery-only service or collection for pre-ordered goods.”

Sarah Pagan, business development manager at the CWLEP Growth Hub, said: “Catering Equipment Ltd is celebrating its first anniversary in Polesworth and since moving to a unit five times the size of their previous premises, they are going from strength to strength.

“Their flexibility and adaptability are proving really important in their current success because they have thousands of components ready to supply to their customers all over the UK.”

Simeon Lee, of Warwickshire County Council, said: “We were delighted to be able to assist Catering Equipment with their move to Polesworth. We helped them identify grant funding to support the capital investments needed to get the new warehouse fully operational.

“It is great to hear that the move has been such a success and how the various investments have provided the foundation for the growth of the business.”