A family-run drinks company is hoping for a 50% increase in turnover this year.
Ashington's Polar Krush, which is based on the Wansbeck Business Park, Rotary Parkway, employs 18 full-time staff, two apprentices and recruits up to 30 additional seasonal staff locally to meet its production demands between April and September.
The company turned over £1.6m in 2013 and is now on target to increase this to £2m this year.
The firm, which manufactures Polar Krush frozen soft drinks and the Green Juice Company range of pure fruit juices, has made Polar Krush the fastest-growing crushed-ice drinks brand in the world, with distributors throughout Spain, the Canary Islands, Portugal, the Balearics, New Zealand and Australia. Customers include the NHS, leisure centres, ice rinks, food courts, holiday and theme parks, shopping centres, schools and independent retailers.
The company has also gone on to develop new products including Refresh, a range of frozen fruit juice drinks, shakes and Devils Ice, a new range of frozen, fruit-based cocktails. However, the firm recognised it wasn’t making the most of its position in the market and the seasonality of some its products was hampering sales.
Gary Gleeson, sales director at Polar Krush, approached the Business Northumberland High Growth Programme, delivered by specialist business coaching outfit Oxford Innovation.
The £1.35m programme is jointly funded by Arch, the Northumberland Development Company; Northumberland County Council and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Gleeson said: “We recognised that we are not as effective as we could be at increasing brand awareness, maximising the sales potential of our products and capitalising on new opportunities.
“As a company we’re very passionate about innovation and new product development, but we are also guilty of taking a scattergun approach to marketing and business development.
“Since the recession we’ve spent the last 18 months moving from a consolidation phase to growth and investment but we still lacked direction and focus.”
Oxford Innovation’s business coach Gill Hall said: “It was clear to me from the outset that Polar Krush was entering a new period of growth into new markets and distribution channels to gain a larger market share and find new revenue and profit channels.
“The company has a fantastic entrepreneurial spirit and a strong commercial insight.”
Gleeson added: “The coaching provided by Oxford Innovation reaffirmed the need for clarity on business direction.”