Three months after fire, CoolKit secures new home

By Tim Aldred

11 Oct 2023

Rupert Danny And Mike At Thornley Ave

Three months after one of its manufacturing facilities was destroyed by fire, CoolKit has signed an agreement to move into a new 75,000 sq ft home in Blackburn.

The temperature-controlled van conversion specialist will move its headquarters eight miles from its former site in Burnley to Whitebirk, near Junction 6 of the M65.

The company was able to quickly bounce back from the fire, which occurred in early July, thanks to a recovery plan which enabled it to resume production at a second unit just days later.

Meanwhile, founder and chief executive Rupert Gatty put out an urgent appeal for new premises.

CoolKit has already started to move some of its operations to this site, with the plan to have the entire business relocated by the start of 2024.

Rupert said: “We are sorry to be leaving Burnley but the opportunity to move onto such a large site, which is only 300 metres from Junction 6 of the M65, was just too good to miss.

“The layout is perfect for our future strategy.”

Last year, CoolKit recorded sales orders of £20.1m – an increase of 60 per cent over the previous year – and despite the blaze, it is still expected to report a further record period this financial year.

Rupert, who founded CoolKit in 2005, said: “We can arrange the site so that we will have from one side deliveries coming in, a stores section, the manufacturing unit, a pre-delivery inspection area and then our conversions will go straight out of the door.

"All of the present workforce of 100-plus will be transferred over the next few months to the new premises." 

A recruitment drive to boost workforce numbers by 20 per cent was put on hold following the fire but is expected to be relaunched in the autumn to address the requirements for the growing order book.

Rupert said: “Another benefit of the new site is that it opens up our travel-to-work catchment area for both production and administration staff.

“We don’t want to lose any of our present staff. They have responded tremendously to the challenge of keeping up the production in recent weeks despite the disaster."

Rupert added: “Only a few months ago we hadn’t a clue what was going to happen to the business. But within a few days, thanks to MD, Daniel Miller and the rest of our executive team implementing a swift and robust recovery plan, and our admin and manufacturing teams executing it with lots of energy and drive, we are now moving into a very exciting future for CoolKit.

“We would also like to extend our thanks to estate agents, Taylor Weaver and our new landlord, Carolis for their efforts and support in finding, letting us view and securing the site so quickly.”

Enjoyed this? Read more from Tim Aldred

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