A County Durham transport company is geared up to post record revenues as it celebrates the arrival of its fifth generation.
Family firm Stanley Travel was launched by Robert Scott in 1961, initially as Stanley Taxis, with two cars operating from a wooden hut in Stanley.
Baby Emilia is the latest addition to the family as the company aims to hit more than £3m for the first time this year – and director Andrew Scott hopes she may too join the business when the time comes.
More than 53 years on from its start, three subsidiaries – Stanley Taxis, Stanley Coaches and The Bike Bus – now employ more than 100 people combined.
It is also on course to hit an annual turnover of £3.1m by the end of 2014, record turnover that is £200,000 more than last year.
The company remains family-owned and operated, with Robert and Ann’s sons Ian and Andrew running the business, while the founder’s father in law, 96-year-old Robert Hepple, was a driver for Stanley Travel until his 70s.
Robert, now 79, still has a hand in running the business along with his wife Ann, while their granddaughter, 21-year-old Megan, a passenger assistant and part time administrator, recently delivered the fifth generation of the family, Emilia.
Andrew’s wife, Susan, looks after the company’s finances and administration, while his son Gavin is transport manager and Ian’s daughter, Gabi, is both a booking clerk and bus driver in her spare time.
The family management team complements 80 staff on the payroll, consisting of drivers, operational staff, mechanics, cleaners, attendants and passenger assistants, plus 45 freelance taxi drivers.
“We’ll have Emilia in for work experience before she knows it,” joked director Andrew Scott, 47.
“It’s very much a hands-on, family firm and it works for us, but joking aside it was never a case of being told to work for the family business. We were always encouraged to do our own thing and, likewise, we encourage our children to do the same.
“If anyone in the family has a talent or a passion they want to pursue in another career, we’d fully support them, but the business is always here for them.”
Stanley Coaches now operates with 45 buses, while Stanley Taxis has 45 cars, making it the largest taxi operator and one of the major employers in the North Durham area.
It started out with two taxis and grew to minibuses and 24-seater coaches before it was awarded its first bus service contract from Durham County Council in 1998.
This created the Stanley Buses arm of the company, which was sold to Go North East in 2007 and enabled Stanley Travel to concentrate on its three main areas of core business.
In 2009, Stanley Travel joined the UK Coach Industry’s most elite operators by becoming one of only 38 in the country to be awarded the Coach Marque accredited by the Confederation of Passenger Transport in recognition of the quality and consistency of its services.
Mr Scott added: “We’re continually looking for areas of opportunity, to develop the businesses and to always look for ways to improve what we do, which is why we continue to grow.”