Clothing manufacturer AMA Group has announced it is seeking out a second manufacturing unit as demand for its products grows.
Production officially got underway at the Peterlee firm earlier this year in a welcome return of the rag trade some 15 years after the North East’s clothing industry was decimated as businesses chose to outsource to cheaper manufacturers overseas.
Claremont Garments was among the firms forced to close, with the loss of thousands of jobs.
The AMA directors – former Claremont directors Julie and David Price and Paul Watts along with Steven Price and Steven Lawson – already have 44 employees working on contracts, including a key deal with Tesco.
And Paul Watts, who delivered a rousing speech on the fall and rise of the clothing industry at Durham Oktoberfest, believes the sky is the limit for the firm’s growth.
“When we had Claremont Garments we employed some 6,500 people at its height in the 1990s but then everyone started heading abroad. It was not a pleasant time.
“But we’re now in a position to bring it back.
“We are already building some strong business relationships and have potential customers than we can handle at the moment,” said Mr Watts.
“From a standing start we have 44 employees and that will rise by 100 very quickly.
“There’s no limit to where we will be in three years. We are already having early talks about where our next factory will be.
“It could be anywhere from Teesside to Northumberland. There’s a lot of pockets of experienced garment workers in the North East and we will tap into that supply.
“I think this time next year we will have firmed up plans for the second unit.”