Newton Aycliffe family-run firm Stiller Warehousing and Distribution is investing £2m in a new distribution centre which could eventually create up to 25 new jobs.
Stiller is creating the new 50,000 sq ft facility at its 22-acre site on Aycliffe Business Park to help the firm cope with sustained growth which has seen annual sales rise by more than 20% to £14.4m.
The palletised distribution centre will be the largest of its type in the North East and will allow Stiller to load 30 vehicles at any one time.
The scheme, which is being project managed by award-winning Darlington firm Wharton Construction, will also create more than 60 off-street car parking spaces and include a new large open-plan office for over 20 office staff.
Bosses at the firm, which has already taken on 26 new employees this year, say the project could create up to 25 new jobs, which would take Stiller’s total headcount to 190.
Stiller’s existing distribution operation is run from one of the firm’s older warehouses.
The new development will enable Stiller to create more warehousing space within its current distribution centre as well as upgrading it.
Managing director Matthew Stiller explained: “Moving the distribution side of the business to its new home is primarily to enable us better cope with the rate of growth we’re currently experiencing.
“It will also mean we’ll no longer have trucks running through one of our larger warehouses, but it will also give us the opportunity to develop what is now being used as a distribution centre into extra warehousing space while upgrading it to a higher standard.
“We’re looking to improve our storage facilities and bring them all up to the standard of the new warehouses we’ve invested in over the last few years.”
Stiller’s latest investment in equipment, people and facilities – including two new warehouses costing more than £1.8m between them – takes the company’s total spend to almost £9m in the last three years.
More than £1.1m was spent on a new state-of-the-art, 40,000 sq ft warehouse in 2015, increasing the company’s warehousing capacity to 200,000 sq ft, and last year it invested another £750,000 in a 40,000 sq ft extension, which was completed earlier this year, while more than £5m has been spent on new vehicles in that time.
Stiller’s new distribution centre will take up five acres of the firm’s 22-acre site at Ridgeway on Aycliffe Business Park, and its construction is also supporting local jobs.
As well as main contractor Wharton Construction, which was recently handed the best large company award from Northern Counties Safety Group for health and safety, Darlington-based ADG Architects, Durham civil engineers BDN and PTS Demolition of Shildon are all involved in the project, as well as Aycliffe-based John Wade Group and SCH Site Services.
Matthew said: “There are several other sub-contractors based on Aycliffe Business Park we’re extremely pleased to be working with on the project.
“It has seriously been very much our ambition to support local jobs, so we’re always steered towards using local companies.
“We’re building this on a piece of land which is currently underdeveloped. This will take a big stride towards our whole 22-acre site being fully developed, so it’s a massive step forward for us.”
Stiller’s turnover by the end of 2017 is expected to hit £14.4m, up £2.5m from £11.9m in 2016, which is made up of £10.2m from distribution and £4.2m warehousing, while its workforce has grown to 164 this year.
Matthew added: “Our growth this year has been down to winning new contracts in both sides of the business and a general uplift in our pallet network system, Palletline, a national co-operative which is experiencing growth.
“The number of pallets we’re distributing around the North-East region is picking up, and on the warehousing side we have won significant new business in 2017.”
Stiller provides cost-effective warehousing and distribution services to businesses in the North-East region as well as commercial property lettings and is also a member and major shareholder in Palletline, a national cooperative network of 70 companies.
Its Aycliffe site stores goods and parts for well-known national brands as well as local businesses including Gestamp Tallent and 3M.