LONDON, January 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
A family owned chocolate and fudge producer is planning to double production and employee numbers with support from HSBC Commercial Bank. County Confectionery is extending its St Ives-based kitchens and adding a second fudge production line to meet strong levels of customer demand.
The expansion will give the company the capacity to double fudge production at its kitchens on the Penbeagle Industrial Estate, where it currently employs 56 people. A further 26 jobs will be created as a result of the expansion, which forms part of the company's plans to double turnover.
In addition to increasing the size of its domestic market, County Confectionery is seeking to grow exports to around a quarter of turnover, up from 16% presently. It currently sells its products into Canada, Australia, the Middle East and the Far East.
County Confectionery has switched its business banking to HSBC in advance of the expansion programme and the bank is providing a financial package to help facilitate its growth. The deal has been led by Steve Hayward, Commercial Manager at HSBC's Cornwall Commercial Centre.
County Confectionery began life as a St Ives fudge shop, opened by Ken and Doreen Brian in 1981. The company moved into food production when their son David began making fudge in his kitchen two years later. Current operations director Chris joined his parents' business in 1986, leaving a career in teaching to help the family manage their growing company. It remains family-owned and managed, with David and his son Mark involved in sales and marketing. Chris is responsible for operations and Ken has taken the role of chairman.
County Confectionery produces fudge and chocolate under its own Copperpot Originals brand, but mainly manufactures goods under a 'private label' arrangement where the retailer will add its own brand to the product. It supplies the majority of high street grocery retailers and its portfolio includes products aimed at Christmas, Easter, Valentines and Mothers and Fathers Day, in addition to standard non-seasonal chocolate and fudge products.
Operations Director Chris Brian says: "Our growth is being constrained not by a lack of demand but by our capacity to produce our products. This second fudge production line will significantly improve our manufacturing capacity and enable us to sell more product both at home and abroad. We are creating jobs as a result of this move and that is positive for the local economy in Cornwall."
He added: "We were looking for a proactive banking partner and that is why we have moved to HSBC. It is a responsive bank and has demonstrated it is keen to understand our business and where we want to take it."
Stephen Hancock, HSBC Cornwall Area Commercial Director, said: "County Confectionery is a long-standing family business that is prepared to innovate and grow to stay relevant to its customer base. This forward-thinking company is looking forward to the future and HSBC is pleased to be able to support its growth."
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