THE founder of a Huddersfield company returned as the guest-of-honour for the official opening of its new premises.
Edward Kelly, founder of Easilift Loading Systems, was on hand to perform the opening of the firm’s new head office at Penistone Road, Kirkburton.
The move marks the start of another year of increased activity for Easilift, which provides equipment for loading bays at distribution centres and warehouses.
Managing director Rob Fay said the company aimed to capitalise on a “hugely successful” 2011 – and increase staffing levels.
He said: “We are an expanding business. From a turnover of £4m in 2001 we achieved turnover of £20m last year.
“The biggest names in retail are turning to Easilift Loading Systems for state-of-the-art loading bay solutions.”
He went on: “Our new head office reflects our desire to build on this foundation with several major project launches planned for 2012.”
The office building at Pembroke House has been fully customised to suit Easilift’s needs – including a combined open-plan sales, projects and design office; a state-of-the-art conference room and a service department “future-proofed” to accommodate further expansion throughout 2012.
Easilift’s highlight of 2011 was the completion of a £6.5m project for supermarket chain Tesco – the largest-single order ever placed in the UK for loading bay equipment.
Easilift supplied and helped to install 40 double deck lifting platforms and 100 dock leveller bays at the 800,000sq ft distribution centre at Daventry.
The company has also carried out contracts for other supermarket chains including Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda as well as retailers Next and Alliance Boots.
Mr Fay said the company, which employs 60 people, hopes to increase its staffing levels by 25% over the next 12 months.
As well as the new office at Kirkburton, it is opening a site in Oxfordshire which will create eight or nine jobs.
Easilift was founded in 1976 by Mr Kelly in Golcar before moving to Kirkburton in 1980.
The new head office is only half a mile from Easilift’s location over the past 30 years.
The existing building at Spring Grove, Kirkburton, has been retained to provide additional warehousing space to support the company’s growth.
In 1993 Mr Kelly merged the Easilift business with Netherlands-based multi-national logistics specialists, Loading Systems Group.
Mr Kelly, who stood down as managing director in 2004 and remained a director until 2011, formally opened the new premises at a ceremony with Mr Dick Van Wijk, founder of Loading Systems Group.
Mr Fay said: “We were delighted to reunite Edward and Dick, the architects of Easilift Loading Systems’ success both at home and abroad, as we showcase the new home for our UK business.”