Garden firm is blooming

Keith Williams (right) of UK Steel Enterprise, with Two Wests & Elliott's Managing Director, Peter Bennett, and Marketing Director Lucie Bradley
Keith Williams (right) of UK Steel Enterprise, with Two Wests & Elliott's Managing Director, Peter Bennett, and Marketing Director Lucie Bradley
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Garden supplies company Two Wests and Elliott is sowing the seeds for future growth, after going back to its roots.

Garden supplies company Two Wests and Elliott is sowing the seeds for future growth, after going back to its roots.

Manager Peter Bennett has acquired the Sheepbridge Industrial Estate firm where he first worked on Saturdays as a schoolboy, with the help of a £50,000 loan from Sheffield-based UK Steel Enterprise and assistance from Santander.

“I worked for the original husband and wife owners, the two Wests, joining the company with the view to earning some money whilst deciding what I really wanted to do in life,” says Peter.

“Twenty-five years later, when they retired in 2000 and sold the business to a York-based company, I stayed on to manage the day-to-day operations.”

When the new owners hit financial problems four years ago, Peter seized the opportunity to buy the business, with assistance from an external investor.

Over the past four years he has taken the company back to its roots, dispensed with an expensive-to-run call centre and concentrated on straightforward marketing. Now, Peter Bennett has bought out the minority shareholder and is aiming to grow internet sales with the help of a new web site, due to launch later this year.

Two Wests and Elliott employs 12 people and generates a turnover of almost £2 million from supplying the general public and garden centres with everything from greenhouses, fruit cages, benches and propagation equipment to small gardening tools.

The company also manufacturers most of its own aluminum products on site and sells them via the internet and mail order.

UK Steel Enterprise regional manager Keith Williams said: “Two Wests is an established business with potential. With plenty of interest in ‘growing your own’ the market for their products should continue to expand, so we hope we have sown the seeds of company growth.”

Tata Steel subsidiary UK Steel Enterprise was set up as part of British Steel to encourage enterprise in areas hit by steel cutbacks.