A Shrewsbury entrepreneur is staving off the challenges of the recession by growing sales and is hoping that a move to new premises will help it break the £1m barrier for the first time in its history.
Steve Nankivell, who set up Belvidere Lifts in 2003, has developed a personal approach to doing business and is beating off competition from bigger rivals to land contracts with the Welsh Assembly Government, Telford Plaza, Peacock Group and other local authorities across the Midlands and UK.
Growth has continued at such a pace that the family-run business has taken advantage of the launch of the Rural Regeneration Zone’s new Rural Enterprise Centre by moving into a 230 sq ft office to base its administrative function in.
“This is an important step for our company and gives us a solid platform from which to enter the next stage of our development,” explained Steve, who previously worked with a big national provider.
“It is always a difficult decision to make moving from your home, but we now have a very professional office, access to the latest technology and enough space to take more people on.”
He continued: “What makes it easier was the flexibility of the licence, which means even in today’s difficult times we could safely afford to make the move without it risking the future of the business.”
Specialising in lift maintenance, service, repairs, breakdowns and installations, Belvidere has gone from Steve working on his own to employing 7 people and turning over in excess of £850,000 this financial year.
Its attention to detail and speed of service has seen it expand its client base and, thanks to the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act, the company has successfully been able to diversify into the installation of disability lifts.
Whilst the majority of the workforce is from within the family, more than 15 engineers can be out at any one time dealing with installations, urgent breakdowns to modernising lifts and completing major refurbishment projects.
“The main reason I started the firm was because the bigger companies I worked for had lost their customer service ethos – in short, I knew there was an opportunity for someone to come into the marketplace and do things differently,” pointed out Steve.
“This is exactly what we’ve tried to do and, in the six years we’ve been running, it is an approach that has been welcomed by clients both large and small. The personal touch has gone out of business and we are trying our best to put it back.”
Belvidere was one of the first tenants to move into the Evans Easyspace and RRZ-backed rural enterprise centre, one of eight being created in Herefordshire and Shropshire.
The facility in Battlefields, which is a £3.5m investment, is the largest centre out of the network and features a 2-storey block, containing 42 offices, 9 workshops and cafe.
After just six months, the ‘hub’ is already half let, with more than 26 enterprises now calling it home.
Rural Regeneration Zone’s Ian Edwards was delighted with the uptake: “Belvidere is exactly the type of business we had in mind when we first came up with the concept; a young dynamic company with the ability to create new jobs and grow.
“The centre gives it the technology, the space and the additional benefits of being able to introduce specialist business support from Business Link into the equation”
Steve concluded: “It really does feel like being part of a wider community and the assistance we have received, especially from Centre Manager Rachael Peters, has been invaluable in setting us up for a record year.”
When full, the 28,000 sq ft Rural Enterprise Centre will eventually be responsible for creating 200 jobs in the local economy.