Andrew James celebrates as Durham firm is named North East Company of the Year

Company started by two cousins in a garage has grown to have turnover of £17.4m and nearly 100 employees

Family firm Andrew James is celebrating after beating off strong competition to be named the North East Company of the Year.

The Durham-based firm beat AAF, from Cramlington, and Teesside’s Visualsoft to be named the region’s top company at the North East Business Awards held at Hardwick Hall near Sedgefield on Thursday night.

It was a double celebration for Andrew James, which also won the digital and social media award. Hart Biologicals, which is based in Hartlepool, was the other double winner on the night, taking the Export and the Innovation awards.

Andrew James was started by cousins Andrew Tomlinson and James Buckle in 2005 and now employs nearly 100 people selling niche kitchen and home products, with a turnover of £17.4m.

Company director James Buckle said: “This is a huge win for us and I’m incredibly proud to accept this award on behalf of the team. To think that we started 10 years ago from a garage and now we’ve grown to become company of the year, it’s a phenomenal feeling.

“We’re growing and we’ll keep doing so in the North East. We haw big ambitions and big plans to achieve that.”

Other winners on the night included Ringtons, Egger UK, the Centre for Process Innovation, ElringKlinger (GB) and Atomhawk.

Nearly 600 people attended the awards, staged by The Journal with our sister on Teesside, the Gazette, and associate sponsors the North East Chamber of Commerce.

The event was introduced by ncjMedia and Gazette Media managing directors Stuart Birkett and Bob Cuffe, who paid tribute to the finalists for their part in the North East’s economic recovery.

Guest speaker Lord Bates also praised the finalists.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer