Bath’s longest established joinery business is setting its sights on growth as lockdown eases and is now ramping up operations to meet an increase in demand, using the support of the six-figure loan from Lloyds Bank.
Hawker Joinery, which turned 100 last year, had to pivot its business model at the beginning of lockdown, as it was no longer able to send its craftsmen to clients’ homes. Adapting to photo sharing and video calls with clients allowed the business to quote for jobs remotely and maintain a pipeline of work and steady cashflow by securing deposits in advance.
The loan, made through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), enabled the business to retain its 18-strong team and provided breathing space for it to look beyond lockdown and target further growth in the second half of 2020.
Now, as lockdown eases and the construction industry returns to work, Hawker Joinery has seen an increase in demand from both existing and new customers. As a result it has taken on a new employee and is looking to hire a further two skilled joiners. Hawker Joinery hand-creates bespoke items such as high-end windows and doors. Prior to lockdown, it had recently opened a new workshop in Frome, and a sales and display office on Queens Parade Place.
The business estimates that demand has increased by 180%, turnover has increased by 35% and enquiries tripled between March and July.
Lloyds Bank provided a six-figure loan as part of its ongoing partnership with the business, which has banked with them since 2016.
Mitchell Thomas, commercial director at Hawker Joinery, said: “There is a genuine desire, on the part of people in the West Country, to support independent companies like Hawker Joinery to make sure they survive. It is so heartening to have people making sincere enquiries about how we are doing and offering to pay up front to do their bit to make sure we get through this difficult time.
“The assistance we have received from Lloyds Bank along the way has been vital to keep our team together and we are now back up and running with all available staff in our workshop and machines running at full pelt to meet demand.”
Victoria Fisher, business banking manager at Lloyds Bank, added: “At Lloyds Bank we are proud to continue to back unique, enterprising companies like Hawker Joinery, which play an important role in the revival of British craftsmanship.
“It’s great to hear that they’ve seen a sharp upturn in new contracts over the last few weeks, as we know how hard they’ve been working to fulfil orders and satisfy new customers alongside their long-standing customer base.”