A start-up engineering firm has bucked the trend during lockdown after tripling its turnover and doubling its workforce since March.
Roo Engineering was started in April 2019 by husband and wife team James and Abbi Rigby who saw the opportunity to set up their own business.
Since then, the company has grown from just three people to a workforce of 27 which operate across two sites – its headquarters at the Lymedale Cross Industrial Estate, in Newcastle, and a powder coating plant in City Road in Fenton.
The majority of the firm’s growth has occurred since the start of lockdown when it secured a £1 million contract for the manufacture of thousands of hand sanitiser dispensers.
Managing director James said: “I have been in this industry for over 15 years and I have a lot of contacts, so we saw the opportunity to set up on our own and it’s been going really well.
“A lot of our growth has been organic, it’s only recently that we’ve started to really push things from a marketing perspective.”
Abbi, who is Roo Engineering’s finance director, said: “For me, our success is down to the fact that we offer a diverse range of services and we operate to a high standard which is why we get a lot of repeat business.”
Roo Engineering is a family-owned sheet metal fabricator which works across a variety of industries for customers all over the UK – from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to Cornwall.
The company specialises in metal work and offers everything from design, finishing, assembly, supply and installation.
So far this year, the ISO-9001-accredited business has invested more than £500,000 in a new 6kw fibre laser and LED lighting which will help to reduce the company’s annual CO2 emissions by 15.45 tonnes and 3.1 tonnes respectively.
The investment – which also included the creation of new office space at its Newcastle site – will also help to create around four new jobs in the next couple of months, taking Roo Engineering’s total workforce to just over 30 people.
Abbi said: “We have always recognised that to be a successful business we have got to invest and be at the forefront of new technology.
“We also think it’s important to support the training of young people. We are just at the stage where we are starting to look at taking on some apprentices and are working with North Staffs Engineering Group, in Hanley, to do that. We are also actively looking for young females to join us on engineering apprenticeships.”
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James said: “Our new laser has given us new capabilities which will hopefully help us to win more work, and ideally, more locally-based contracts.
“It will also mean we can create three or four new positions in the next couple of months; we can probably accommodate about 35 people here in Newcastle so if we go beyond that we will have to start to look for a bigger premises.”
He added: “We have invested a lot of money into the business this year and not only does that mean we can provide additional services, but it also boosts morale.
“I think it is important for our staff to see that we are investing and that they are working for a stable business at a time when everything is so uncertain. Our plan now is to continue to expand.”