Pottery firm Steelite to open Trentham shop
POTTERY firm Steelite is to open its first shop.
The Middleport tableware specialist has previously sold its products only to hospitality customers such as hotels and restaurants through distributors and agents.
Now it is expanding into the consumer market with the launch of Perfect Setting by Steelite International at Trentham Shopping Village.
It means the shopping centre will be fully let when Perfect Setting opens on Monday.
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Steelite employs more than 700 people at its Orme Street factory.
The Sentinel reported in April that the firm had posted record sales of £66.3 million for 2011, up 9.4 per cent from £60.6 million the year before.
Pre-tax profits were unchanged at £7.9 million due to high levels of investment.
Steelite exports to more than 130 countries around the world and more than 80 per cent of its turnover comes from doing business overseas. Customers include hotel chains Hilton and Four Seasons as well as the Ministry of Defence, Whitbread and Little Chef.
Chief executive Kevin Oakes said expanding into the retail market was a significant move.
He said: “Our decision to enter the consumer market is the result of extensive research into the opportunities this presents for us as an ambitious business.
“We have an excellent brand and reputation, and we continually get requests from the public to buy our products. So Perfect Setting is designed to meet the consumer market’s appetite for high-quality home dining ranges.”
Mr Oakes, pictured below, who was named Midlands Entrepreneur of the Year in June by accountancy giant Ernst & Young, added: “The shopping village gives us an excellent new presence in the community, shows our commitment to the region and enables us to share our fantastic ‘Made in Stoke-on-Trent’ tableware with a whole new audience.”
Perfect Setting will stock Steelite’s most popular ranges which are used by professional chefs and major international hotel chains.
The shop has created three jobs and the firm will be monitoring how it is received by the public before looking at opening more branches.
Mike Herbert, regional director at St Modwen, which runs the Trentham Estate, said: “It is not only great news that our visitors can now find yet another high-quality retailer, but this latest addition also means that every single shopping village unit is now let, which is terrific news for shoppers, traders and the local economy.
“I am also very pleased that we are able to support one of Stoke-on-Trent’s leading manufacturers. It is all too often forgotten that Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire have several world-leading, top-quality and successful manufacturing companies.”
New shops to have opened at the shopping village this year include The Whisky Shop and The Kloqworx.