Business interruption loan helps historic joinery bounce back with big increase in workload

July 16, 2020

One of Bath’s oldest firms has bounced back from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its business and is now ramping up production to meet an increase in demand by using a government-backed loan.

Hawker Joinery, which turned 100 last year and hand-creates bespoke items such as high-end windows and doors, found itself no longer able to send its craftsmen to clients’ homes at the start of the lockdown. 

But using the six-figure loan secured from through Lloyds Bank meant the firm could retain its 18-strong team and start to look beyond lockdown by targeting further growth in the second half of this year.

It adapted to photo sharing and video calls with clients, allowing it to quote for jobs remotely. That enabled it to maintain a pipeline of work and steady cashflow by securing deposits in advance.

Now, as lockdown eases and the construction industry returns to work, demand has increased with business won from existing and new customers.

The estimates that since March demand has soared by 180%, turnover is up by 35% and inquiries have tripled.

As a result, the firm – which opened new workshop in Frome, pictured above, and a sales and display office on Queens Parade Place last year – has already taken on a new employee and is looking to hire a further two skilled joiners.

Lloyds Bank provided the loan through the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) as part of its four-year partnership with the business.

Hawker Joinery commercial director Mitchell Thomas said: “There is a genuine desire, on the part of people in the West Country, to support independent companies like Hawker Joinery to make sure they survive.

“It is so heartening to have people making sincere enquiries about how we are doing and offering to pay up front to do their bit to make sure we get through this difficult time. 

“The assistance we have received from Lloyds Bank along the way has been vital to keep our team together and we are now back up and running with all available staff in our workshop and machines running at full pelt to meet demand.”

Lloyds Bank business banking manager Victoria Fisher added: “We are proud to continue to back unique, enterprising companies like Hawker Joinery, which play an important role in the revival of British craftsmanship.

“It’s great to hear that they’ve seen a sharp upturn in new contracts over the last few weeks, as we know how hard they’ve been working to fulfil orders and satisfy new customers alongside their long-standing customer base.”

Founded in 1919, the company began life by making boxes for the renowned cranes produced by Bath company Stothert and Pitt, which were shipped across the globe.

Through four generations of the Hawker family, the business grew to become one of the best-known heritage businesses – it has cared for historic properties from Windsor Castle to Bath’s Royal Crescent and everything in between.




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