DAN Bamforth is following in his parents’ footsteps.
And he’s fully aware of the responsibility of taking forward the family business.
The 25-year-old is operations director of commercial property development and rental company Towndoor Ltd, which was started by his late father Stuart and also involves his mother, Lucy.
Dan’s parents started the business in 1988 when they bought half of the sprawling former David Brown Tractors site at Meltham Mills. It proved an astute move.
Now Towndoor provides in excess of 1 million sq ft of space with more than 40 companies occupying its 70-plus units and employing many hundreds of people.
The company headquarters occupies a two-storey building fronting Meltham Mills Road, on the Meltham Mills complex.
Dan and his colleagues make their decisions sitting around the original boardroom table used by the tractor firm’s founder Sir David Brown and his directors.
Towndoor has three other sites in the area – Concept House on Huddersfield Road in Meltham, Crosland Road Industrial Estate in Netherton and Bent Ley Industrial Estate in Meltham.
Despite the general economic climate, they are all fully let.
Says Dan: “It’s the first time in 24 years we have every unit let on all four sites.
“I think it’s because we have such a mix of properties – from basic lock-ups to huge sheds.”
The company also boasts some growing, go-ahead companies as tenants – including geosynthetic specialist ABG, Bolling Coffee, paper towels and washroom supplier UK Disposables and award-winning horse trailer manufacturer Equi-Trek.
“These are firms which we have watched grow from small businesses occupying 10,000sq ft. of space to successful companies taking 100,000sq ft. or more,” says Dan.
“Every one of these companies have been with us for quite a long time and they have grown with us.”
He says: “There are so many empty commercial sites around the region it’s gobsmacking.
“But we are reasonable about rents and we work with our tenants.
“We actually have a waiting list for units up to 10,000sq ft. We have businesses ranging from manufacturing and warehousing to a cake maker and a Ferrari garage.”
Now expansion is on the cards. “We have three plots of land at the moment which we are looking to develop,” says Dan.
“We have also been to look at properties in Leeds and Manchester, which would take us to the regional level.
“However, the bulk of our properties are on our doorstep, which means we can react quickly to issues that crop up.”
Dan is also spearheading a significant investment in the business – including a new website, rebranding and new software systems to streamline operations to benefit both Towndoor and its tenants. The object is to improve customer service.
“I can’t recall any business leaving us because we have fallen out or because there’s a better offer elsewhere,” says Dan. “That’s something we want to maintain.”
Towndoor has invested £20,000 in a solar panel system to help tenants reduce their energy bills. “We are trialling the system at the moment,” says Dan. “We hope to invest £200,000 in similar solar systems if it is successful in the near future
“We’re also investigating the viability of a water turbine. A reservoir feeds into our sprinkler system, so we might be able to position a turbine at Meltham Mills.
“We want to do what we can because energy costs have increased massively for all businesses. It is killing our tenants. We use in excess of £1m of electricity a year across our portfolio of properties.”
The firm’s commitment to its locality has extended to supporting local youth football and cricket teams. The company is also donating £2,500 for a skateboard park in Meltham.