Sheffield firm celebrates 120 years with expansion and jobs plan

A fifth generation Sheffield company is celebrating 120 years in business with a big new warehouse and plans to create jobs.

Saturday, 28th September 2019, 12:02 pm
The new warehouse at Stokes Tiles at Holbrook Sheffield is set to complete this month.

Stokes Tiles is building a 60,000 sq ft facility at its Holbrook headquarters using the proceeds of the sale of its showroom on Moore Street in the city centre.

The company sold the site to developers who have started building a 860-bed flats complex.

Stokes was founded as a paint company in 1899 and started trading in tiles in 1970. The paint business was sold in 2012.

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Some 55 people work at the firm, based at Holbrook Industrial Estate, Rother Valley Way, Sheffield, including three generations of Stokes: Sebastian, aged 24, managing director Tim and grandfather Robert, 83.

Financial director Richard Askham said the business was thriving, profitable and set to create jobs.

He added: “We’re still very much in business in Sheffield and at Holbrook we’ve got everything the public needs going forward.”

The warehouse is set to be finished at the end of this month, he added.

A big importer, the falling value of the pound earlier this year had hit profits. The firm had also stockpiled tiles ahead of the original Brexit date in March. Those levels had been maintained to insure against possible transport delays from a future ‘no deal’, Mr Askham said. But it would also bring five per cent import tariffs and if the pound weakened furthe r they would have to “do something about prices,” he added.

The company decided to sell Moore Street in 2007 due to safety concerns around loading 15 tonne lorries and a rise in pedestrians and city centre living. But the showroom remained open until a deal was eventually struck, after the recession, in 2015.

The Moore Street flats development will comprise four buildings rising to 17 storeys with three further blocks of 10, six and 12 storeys.

The scheme is by Litton Buccleuch, a joint venture between Bakewell-based Litton Property Group and Edinburgh-based Buccleuch Property.

The site is at the junctions of Moore, Fitzwilliam and Thomas streets.