The sun was shining over Axminster Carpets this morning, the weather neatly reflecting the mood of this most historic of British businesses.
This Spring that has been more like winter has been a season of gloom for the Queen's favourite carpet makers, but no more. The deal announced over the weekend to save the East Devon based firm has been painful but was seemingly the only answer to keep the famous brand alive.
The newly formed company Axminster Carpets (2013) Ltd is being led by Stephen Boyd, the Chairman of Yeovil leather firm Pittards, and is being backed by a number of businessmen including financing by Centric Commercial Finance.
Much of the credit, though, for the survival of carpet manufacturing in Axminster goes to the senior management of the business, in particular its managing director Josh Dutfield. He continued to find a buyer and a way forward even when the company went into administration last month.
– Josh Dutfield, Managing Director, Axminster Carpets
I have been determined to do everything possible to secure the continuation of the business for the Axminster community and I feel a sense of pride in securing our future.
The manufacturing of Axminster Carpets was the most profitable part of the business and so it's no surprise that there were investors lined up to take on an attractive investment.
The company had lurched into administration for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was haemorrhaging money at its loss making Irish brand Curragh Carpets that went into liquidation last October. Secondly, Axminster produced its own wool at its spinning mill at Buckfast. The firm had spent millions making it exceptionally environmentally friendly, but the cost of production was too high. Lastly, the firm had lost relationships with many independent carpet outlets and the brand needed regeneration which is something that will now happen.
The hundred workers who were kept on to complete orders when Axminster went into administration now have job security. With the sense of optimism around the factory there is hope that some of the 300 who were made redundant may come back in time.
But for the 120 who worked at Buckfast there's little hope of a return to the fold and that will be a big blow to the community there.
Today, though, is about the future, one that Axminster can now look forward to.
You can watch the full report by Seth Conway here: