A family business which manufactures granite and quartz worktops for kitchen companies, residential developments and the DIY market is targeting growth after securing grant support to invest in new machinery.
EB Granite in Peterlee is run by brothers Mark and Wayne Ellis, who co-founded the business with their mam Pauline and her partner John in 2005.
Pauline and John retired last year, leaving Mark heading up the day-to-day operations within the factory while Wayne travels around the region meeting customers and suppliers.
Today the business employs 14 people with turnover at £1.15m for the most recent financial year.
Mark said: “The business has grown every year since it was set up and the demand for our services was continuing to increase.
“We knew there was scope to bring in a lot more work but the machinery we had was outdated, around a decade old, and just wasn’t working as quickly and efficiently as we needed it to.
“I identified new machinery, a saw and a CNC router, which would make a real difference to the business and contacted the council to see what financial support was available.
“The council put me in touch with Business Durham and UMi who talked us through the County Durham Growth Fund process. We made an application and secured around 25 per cent contribution to our overall investment of £200,000.”
EB Granite, which is based on the South West Industrial Estate in Peterlee, now produces worktops for kitchens, table tops and hearths, and supplies both the commercial and retail markets with its products.
Mark and Wayne are now drawing up plans for growth, which will see them take on around eight new members of staff. They are also looking at creating more apprenticeships within the business, which has proved successful for them in the past – EB Granite’s shop floor manager is Lee Jennings who has been with the business since he was 16 when he started as an apprentice engineer.
Wayne added: “Before Covid 19 we were doing around 12 jobs per week, now that is closer to 20. The challenge for us is managing that growth and making sure we have the right people in place to support us.
“We know we have an excellent reputation within the industry and people travel from all over the region for our products and services. The demand is there and with the investment we’ve made in the new machinery, we know we’re now ideally placed to bring in bigger contracts that often require a faster turnaround.”
The County Durham Growth Fund is managed by Business Durham in partnership with UMi and is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). All successful grant applications are appraised by UNW LLP, an independent firm of chartered accountants and business advisers.
Sarah Slaven, Managing Director at Business Durham, said: “EB Granite is a family business with its roots firmly in County Durham and I’m delighted that with grant support from the County Durham Growth Fund, they’re targeting continued expansion and job creation.”
Simon Allen, Investment Centre Director at UMi, said: “Supporting businesses like EB Granite, which want to invest to meet increased customer demand, is exactly what the growth fund was set up to do.”
John Healey, Corporate Finance Partner at UNW LLP, added: “Mark and Wayne have ambitions to grow their business and now, with the support of the County Durham Growth Fund, they’re in a much stronger position to achieve those ambitions.”