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Wood supplier branches out online


A kitchen and bedroom chipboard supplier based in Kirkby is launching a new ecommerce business after receiving a £500,000 finance package from Yorkshire Bank.

Family-run Mersey Timber has developed four new website stores to sell its range of melamine faced chipboard shelves and doors. The finance package will be invested in new stock to service the expected increase in demand.

The firm processes 10,000 pieces of melamine-faced chipboard every week and sells to the trade and public across the UK, trebling its turnover to £3.2 million in the past decade.

Terry Stephens, managing director, runs the business with his wife, Kathleen. He said: “The industry has really changed in the past ten years. Gone are the days of simply offering a choice of oak, beech and pine woods. People are now looking for a greater range and that’s why we have opened our online stores.

“We have over 300 products to choose from and we hope this new sales avenue can help push us to our most successful year in 2012. We’re delighted with the support from Yorkshire Bank and we look forward to seeing the return on the investment.”

Mersey Timber was established in 1919, with Terry Stephens purchasing the business from the Glassman family in 1983. The firm operates from a 30,000 sq ft head office in Kirkby, where there is also a second processing plant, in addition to a storage warehouse in Bootle.

The business posted its most successful ever turnover of £3.2 million in 2010 and is on track to beat that figure this year. The firm employs 32 people and works for over 500 clients throughout the UK.

Andrew James, managing partner at Yorkshire Bank’s Financial Solutions Centre in Liverpool, arranged the finance. He said: “This is a perfect example of a business spotting a quality growth opportunity to help them get to the next level. Mersey Timber is a well run family business and not only are we delighted to welcome them to Yorkshire Bank, we look forward to supporting them for many years to come.”

Mersey Timber purchases all its melamine-faced chipboard from another local firm, Kirkby-based Sonae, and hopes the new ecommerce side of the business will expand the coverage to more clients throughout the UK.

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