The UK’s largest independent coffin maker is aiming to secure further growth after successfully completing a three-year investment cycle with a regional fund management firm.
In 2010, JC Atkinson & Son, which employs over 100 people in Washington, secured a £150,000 investment from the NEL-managed Finance For Business North East Growth Fund.
Since then, its annual turnover has risen from £5.5m to around £7m, with the company supplying around 60,000 coffins to customers throughout the UK.
Products range from traditional- style to bamboo, wicker, seagrass and even wool.
Named the UK’s Best Green Company by the Sunday Times in 2008, it also retained the Carbon Trust Standard and launched a Greener Goodbyes service for those looking for a ‘green funeral’.
Managing director Julian Atkinson said: “We have grown ten-fold in the last 20 years, and having the capital available that we’ve needed to do this has been critical to our success. NEL believed in our vision for the business, and the relationship that we’ve had with them over the years has been extremely positive for all sides.
“The continuing expansion of the wholesale side of the business has complemented our manufacturing success very well, and we’ve been able to both bring in skilled new staff and keep our existing staff happy and motivated, which has all contributed to enabling the business to grow sustainably.”
Chief executive at NEL Fund Managers Barrie Hensby said: “JC Atkinson’s highly effective, long-term use of investment capital sets a great example for other North East firms looking to expand their operations and create new jobs to follow.
“The Finance For Business North East Funds provide a real opportunity for regional businesses to gain a competitive advantage over their rivals.”