Foremost Furniture Limited: Upcycling isn’t a new phenomenon

By October 12, 2022News

UPCYCLING might be considered a new phenomenon, but at Foremost Furniture Limited in Haslingden, it has been the bread and butter of the business for decades.

Founded by Ted Dixon in Southport in 1974, the family firm originally bought and sold office furniture.

With the decentralisation of purchasing for public organisations, the company looked at different markets and in 1984 completed its first pub refurbishment – the Sports Bar in West Yorkshire. That led to larger contracts and gave the company a new focus.

Last year, Foremost Furniture Limited won the Made In Rossendale award at the R-Awards, which came as a huge shock to the directors; Ted’s daughters Stella Collinson, who is Managing Director, Administrative Director Antonia Creer and Sales Director Haydn Creer.

Rossendale Business Awards is organised by Valley at Work, which connects and supports local businesses and holds monthly meetings with guest speakers.

This year’s presentation evening will be on Wednesday November 30 at The Ashcroft in Whitworth.

Stella has been involved in the business since 1983 and has been Managing Director since 1998.

Foremost Furnishing Limited moved to Carrs Industrial Estate in 2011 where there was more space to set up a production line with separate rooms for upholstery, polishing, a wood workshop and preparation room and access to skilled employees.

Stella said: “When we came here, Rossendale Borough Council was supportive from day one, they helped us with all the legal issues and have always been there when we need them.

“We are contracted to remove and refurbish fixed and loose seating and tables from pubs and we have furniture in Elgin at the top of Scotland and at the First and Last Pub in Cornwall, in Jersey and Guernsey and as we refurbish furniture for Premier Inn and fit out their breakfast bars all over Germany.

“We have refitted CenterParcs and when I was in Tromsø in the Arctic Circle to see the Northern Lights, I was in a coffee shop and found that that I was sitting on our seats.”

The company had to furlough staff during lockdown, but post-Covid, or ‘the C word’ as they prefer to call it, numbers have increased and there are now more than 60 employees.

Brexit has been the latest challenge which has made it difficult to get raw materials from Europe, and the ongoing was war in Ukraine has also had an impact.

Stella said: “The most unusual item we have been asked to supply is a cow – it was wanted for a beer garden for a pub – The Brown Cow – but we could only get a fibreglass black cow and so we had to repaint it. We also reupholstered a pub wall in denim jeans.

“It is only ever, as a last resort, that the furniture we remove cannot be refurbished and has to be discarded; even then we will see what we can reuse and we have four separate units in Haslingden full of furniture.”

The company is awaiting a Zero Emissions green audit and offsets its carbon footprint by planting trees.

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