South Yorkshire business sets out expansion plans after being brought back from the dead

Yorkshire Windows director and now co-owner Ian Chester
Yorkshire Windows director and now co-owner Ian Chester
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A former employee left jobless when the South Yorkshire business where he worked collapsed has risked his own money to revive the longstanding firm.

Yorkshire Windows ceased trading over Christmas and went into liquidation following financial difficulties which were blamed on commercial clients failing to pay their debts.

Yorkshire Windows' new showroom at Ferndale Garden Centre

Yorkshire Windows' new showroom at Ferndale Garden Centre

But its director Ian Chester kept faith in the business where he began his career, digging into his own pockets to buy the trading name along with two other investors.

He has now resurrected the retail side of the firm and already has plans to expand - beginning with a new showroom at a garden centre in Dronfield.

Such is his confidence, he is honouring the 10-year guarantee for old customers despite not being legally obliged to do so as this is technically a new company.

"When it went into liquidation I was one of the 84 people who were made redundant but I saw it as an opportunity," said Ian, who is director and a one-third shareholder of the new firm.

"The retail side was healthy; it was only the commercial side with clients not paying their debts which forced us into a horrible cash position.

"I knew there was a good business there, with a strong brand built up over more than 35 years, and it's something we want to build on."

Yorkshire Windows employed 84 staff before it went into administration, and shedding the commercial side, the factory and traditional showrooms means the new business has a slimmed-down workforce.

But Ian says he expects to have around 30 workers by the end of April and hopes to expand the business so it can begin making its own products again within as little as 18 months.

It is opening a new showroom this Easter at Dronfield's Ferndale Garden Centre, which Ian believes will boost awareness and attract more passing custom than its old stand-alone showrooms.

Should this prove successful, he plans to open similar ventures in west and north Yorkshire showcasing the firm's windows, conservatories and other products.

Ian first joined the company in the late 90s, working in the factory during his holidays as a student and then starting full time as a management trainee before rising through the ranks to become director.

"I believe in Yorkshire Windows, having worked there so long," he said.

"It's an extremely good business which went through a bad patch and there's no reason it can't get back on track with the retail market."