Ship supplier Gibbons International has expanded into new premises and relocated its operations from Wearside to Washington.
The family firm, currently turning over £3m a year, has bought a 1.3-acre site with 12,600sqft of warehousing and office accommodation on the Crowther Industrial Estate for an undisclosed sum.
For the last 93 years the company has been supplying vessels with a wide range of goods including food, hardware and duty free products, as well as operating its own fleet of temperature-controlled vehicles.
The business has grown by around 40% over the last five years, with a large proportion of that growth coming from deliveries to European and Scandinavian ports.
Teesside-based MPI Offshore, a market leaders in offshore wind installation, is a major customer and the company’s longest-standing client is Danish passenger ferry operator DFDS, which operates the Newcastle to Amsterdam ferry route.
It also exports food products to the Falkland Islands and supplies duty free stores to the British bases in the Antarctic.
The expansion gives Gibbons International vital room to manoeuvre, with much-needed warehousing and office space as well as a significantly larger compound positioned close to the main arterial routes.
The firm has been supported in this latest phase of its growth and development through funding for the deal by Barclays Bank, and legal advice from Durham-based Swinburne Maddison LLP.
Ian Gibbons, who is the third generation of his family to head up the business, said: “Over the past 93 years we have built up an enviable reputation and name synonymous in the ship supply sector for delivering quality products and high levels of service.
“We now have much larger operational premises, close to the A1 and main arterial routes, so the move gives us further flexibility to build on the current growth in the offshore wind turbine industry.”
MPI Offshore’s Liam Duggan also welcomed the move.
He said: “Given the high level of service and quality which was consistently received by the MPI vessels whilst in North East ports, we were happy to initially trial deliveries further afield with great success.
“I am confident that the move will only improve the already impressive way in which Ian and his team are able to tackle any challenges which they given.”
Gibbons International has retained its original butcher’s shop in Sunderland which first opened in 1936. With further assistance from Swinburne Maddison tenancies have been established for the buildings which were previously used for ship supplies.
Victoria Walton, head of Swinburne Maddison’s commercial property team, said: “Gibbons International is a North East success story and we are delighted that we have had the opportunity to assist Ian on such a key aspect of his company’s ongoing success.
“I am confident that this is a pivotal move as he continues to grow the business and gain market share within the marine supply sector.”