Business Journal: From riches to rags to riches once again at Bell & Webster in Grantham

Managing director of Bell & Webster in Grantham John Stothard and Grantham MP Nick Boles.
Managing director of Bell & Webster in Grantham John Stothard and Grantham MP Nick Boles.

A long-established Grantham firm has turned its fortunes around and returned from the brink of closure.

The recession hit precast concrete building manufacturer Bell & Webster hard, forcing management to take the tough decision to make redundant almost a fifth of its workforce.

Managing director of Bell & Webster in Grantham John Stothard and Grantham MP Nick Boles.

Managing director of Bell & Webster in Grantham John Stothard and Grantham MP Nick Boles.

From a peak of 160 employees and a turnover of £30 million in 2009, the Alma Park-based firm retained just 33 workers at the end of last year and turned over significantly less.

Managing director John Stothard said: “It’s desperate to watch a big business struggle. Nobody enjoys making people redundant.

“The primary aim was to save the business and control it, to weather the storm so to speak, and to be in a position where we could rebuild the business.

“Had it not been for Eleco [parent company], we would have disappeared.”

Those dark days seem to be firmly behind Bell & Webster and the future looks to be bright. Three major orders have been secured and the workforce has doubled, with further vacancies available.

Mr Stothard, 54, said: “We are now going forward and expect to increase operations by 50 per cent.

“One would say the local economy suffered with us and should benefit by us again.”

To celebrate the company’s turnaround, Mr Stothard invited Grantham MP Nick Boles to the plant to show him around and talk about its successes.

Bell & Webster was established in 1948 and came to Grantham in the 1990s.

It manufactures and instals precast concrete products, such as retaining walls and structural rooms for hotels, student accommodation and prisons.

For more information, or to enquire about vacancies, go to www.bellandwebster.co.uk or call 01476 562277.