Business is booming in Gloucestershire, with SoGlos handpicking 10 unique growth businesses to keep an eye on.
As Gloucestershire’s businesses continue to grow and thrive after one of the toughest years in modern history, SoGlos highlights 10 more unique Gloucestershire businesses that are worth watching – with fashion houses, truffle hunters and engineering giants all making the list.
ProCook was the winner of Growth Business of the Year at the first ever SoGlos Gloucestershire Business Awards – and for good reason. The Gloucestershire company saw a record-breaking 35 per cent increase in sales in 2020, with a total sales figure of £64.5 million, despite the incredible challenges it was facing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was also awarded a place on the coveted Sunday Times International Fast Track 200 in February 2021, recognising its 300 per cent growth in international sales over the last three years.
ProCook didn’t just grow its turnover either, it increased head office staff by 35 per cent too – recruiting a diverse range of roles from digital marketing to logistics, to ensure its impressive growth continues into the future.
2. ALS Mechatronic
After starting the business from his spare room in Tewkesbury in 2002, SGGBA Entrepreneur of the Year Andrew Steward has achieved steady and consistent year-on-year growth at ALS Mechatronic, without any outside investment or borrowing.
ALS Mechatronic now operates out of a 10,000 square foot facility in Winchcombe, with the company being recognised with a prestigious Queen’s Award in 2021 for its outstanding short-term growth in international markets – having seen sales quintuple in Ireland, Mexico, Poland and the USA. It also opened its first US sales office during the pandemic.
Just six months into 2021, ALS has already earned £2 million in revenue, compared to £2.8 million in the entire financial year in 2020, with no signs of growth stopping any time soon.
3. Stewart Golf
SGGBA International Business of the Year, Gloucestershire-based golf trolley manufacturer, Stewart Golf, almost doubled in size during 2020, with its total sales increasing by an incredible 93 per cent. With golf being one of the only sports to remain playable during lockdown, golfers unable to hire buggies turned to the British trolley manufacturer in droves.
It built 65 per cent more of its X Series electric trolleys than in the previous year; increased production of another line by 51 per cent; launched a brand-new range; and increased its staff by more than 50 per cent to facilitate the increased demand for its products. Alongside 33 per cent growth in the UK market, Stewart Golf also enjoyed soaring exports, with 75 per cent of its total sales now coming from abroad.
4. Portman Dental
After a landmark year in 2019, SGGBA finalist Portman Dental Care faced significant challenges when the pandemic hit in 2020. The company worked tirelessly to develop its industry-leading operating procedure that allowed its dental practices to reopen as soon as they legally could.
As well as pioneering new, Covid-safe dentistry, Portman Dental Care also acquired an additional 44 practices since the pandemic began – taking its total number of practices to 158 across the country and growing its annual turnover by £3.9 million.
Having established itself as the go-to supplier for communication products and services, SGGBA finalist Tewkesbury-based Amiosec took on 23 new staff members during the first 12 months of lockdown – cementing it as the employer of choice for highly skilled, high value-add software and hardware engineers and taking its team up to 60 permanent staff.
The company also invests around 10 per cent of its revenue into research and development to feed its future pipeline of new technology, products, solutions and services, helping it capitalise on being a key supplier to the UK government.
BioStart started trading in 2021 to help tackle the widespread issue of delivery drivers leaving the keys in the ignition of their vehicles. The SGGBA Most Innovative Business Award-winner has recently secured a patent for its world-leading driver identification and vehicle security solution, leading to two new companies being set up.
The company created technology which automatically shuts down a vehicle’s engine when the driver exits and can only be restarted by authorised biometric fingerprint recognition. This can be sent remotely to a vehicle, allowing businesses to control who drives what and when – set to revolutionise not only the logistics industry, but also plant machinery and forklift truck access too.
7. SLG Brands
Cheltenham-based SLG Brands is well-known for innovation. At the start of the year, it opened its brand-new tanning mitt factory in Cheltenham, creating 20 jobs and bringing production of the iconic Velvotan mitt back in-house.
On top of that, it launched its brand-new Rhyme & Reason eco-friendly haircare range, which is stocked in Boots and Sainsburys across the UK and Target in the USA – with its Curl & Quench line selling out in stores across the country. Made from high-quality natural and vegan ingredients, Rhyme & Reason is also one of the only high street haircare brands to use 100 per cent recycled and recyclable packaging.
And despite the ongoing logistics problems caused by the pandemic, SLG products are currently stocked in more than 55,000 locations across the world. It was also crowned the Best Place to Work at the SoGlos Gloucestershire Business Awards.
After seeing a 600 per cent increase in profit in the last six months of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, Wotton-under-Edge engineering giant Renishaw, which employs over 4,400 people worldwide, was set to be sold in 2021 – but owners Sir David McMurtry and John Deer decided not to sell in July 2021.
Despite the uncertainty over its future ownership its trading performance remained strong, with it finishing its latest financial year with profits in the region of £121 million.
Headquartered in South Cerney, TruffleHunter is set to turnover in excess of £8 million in 2021, having seen 200 per cent growth over the last four years. The global supplier of truffle-related products is investing in a new production area; dedicated manufacturing line; and product development, to meet the ever-growing demand for its goods. Alongside a huge consumer market in countries like America, Canada, China, Hong Kong and Mexico, TruffleHunter is also a supplier of choice to a number of Michelin star restaurants and chefs across the world.
As part of its ongoing investment, TruffleHunter has also created compostable crisp packets and fully recyclable snack tins for its products too – demonstrating its ongoing commitment to sustainability.
10. Holland Cooper
Cheltenham fashion house, Holland Cooper, has tripled its wholesale business in the last year, with much of that growth coming from online sales during the pandemic.
The brand also became the flagship for the new Sandersons Department Store in Stroud when it opened in April 2021 and is set to open its own exclusive new store near Dowdeswell in Cheltenham later in 2021.
By Chloe Gorman
Thursday 16 September 2021