For two years it was just pub talk, as landlord Paul Scott chatted with customer Michael Brightmore about setting up in business.
Week after week, the pair would talk up their prospects over the bar at The Colin in Kimberworth, Rotherham. Their plan was to create a company selling building plastics.
Statistics – if there were any for such a thing – would probably show that more than 99 per cent of such conversations come to nothing.
But they only went and did it.
Sales director Paul, aged 36, and a dad of four, said: “It was a leap of faith 100 per cent. Me, my wife Claire and the children left the pub and lived on savings for two months.
“And to be honest it wasn’t that bad. Being a publican meant working from 7am to 2am, which is why I finally said to Mick, ‘let’s do it’ – and it took off overnight. After about two months we had enough money coming in we could pay ourselves a proper wage.”
MP Plastic Building Products started out on eBay two-and-a-half years ago with £5,000 from managing director Mick and the expertise of financial director Neil Barker.
The company sells roofing, cladding, guttering, perspex and bathroom panels. It also installs plastics for customers, including Asda, Aldi and Tesco.
It moved into premises on Harvest Lane, Neepsend, and sales have grown rapidly – it turned over £3m last year, says Paul. The 16 staff are soon to be 30, he added.
On Saturday May 10 it is opening a second site, on Sheffield Road near Meadowhall, after a £50,000 revamp to create a warehouse and showroom.
The premises, leased from hire firms HSS, are opposite a planned Next Home store and adjacent to an Ikea if it gets approval. Already, 2,000 cars pass each hour.
Paul, who worked selling building plastics from the age of 15 until he became a publican, said their success was due to being exceptionally good online – the business has seven websites – a bigger range than most and a retail outlet.
It has also just bought a £12,000 panel wall saw – offering a while-you-wait service, believed to be the only one in South Yorkshire.