South Yorkshire weightlifting brand set to power ahead with 237 jobs and new factory

A South Yorkshire weightlifting brand is set to create 237 jobs at a £9m new factory despite a drop in sales due to Covid.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 2:49 pm

SBD Apparel had intended to fund the move with cash reserves and 2020 profits. But it accepted a £1.5m grant to bridge the gap after the pandemic closed gyms and cancelled events last year.

The company makes clothing and power-lifting equipment including wrist wraps, knee and elbow sleeves, deadlift socks and singlets. It sponsors the World’s Strongest Man and the British Weightlifting and British Power Lifting teams.

Now it will move from five sites in to new premises on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Catcliffe.

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Visit of HM Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, Andrew J Coombe, to SBD Apparel on achieving The Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2018.

Managing director Benjamin Banks said despite Covid they remained ‘very optimistic about the future’.

He added: “It will be fantastic to have all our business divisions located in one place and we expect there will be local collaboration opportunities at the Advanced Manufacturing Park as this area is really developing its health and well-being specialism.

“We will be able to extend our product range and launch in new territories, we plan to increase our local distributors from 42 to 70 countries. It will also give us the production capacity to progress with developing creative new prototypes and bring exciting new products to market.”

The firm expected to create 237 jobs within three years of the new factory opening, he added. In total, SBD Apparel is investing £9.38m in land acquisition, development and fit-out costs.

The company started out in Peckham, London, eight years ago and relocated to Rotherham in 2017.

It was awarded £1.5m from the Business Investment Fund from the Sheffield City Region

James Muir, chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The new premises will give a massive boost not only to the company but also to the local economy.

“Without the BIF funding the project would have been unable to proceed, so it is fantastic news for SBD Apparel and for job creation in this region.”

The Business Investment Fund was introduced in 2018 with £52m for firms that demonstrate growth or the potential to grow.

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.