CWB learns more about Rowlinson Knitwear’s plans for growth, which include the impending move to a new and improved premises at the end of the year.
Established in 1935 and employee-owned since 2015, Rowlinson Knitwear is one of the largest personalised schoolwear manufacturers in the UK, specialising in selling high-quality polo shirts, sweatshirts and knitwear to independent school uniform retailers.
This year, the company is consolidating its position further, embarking on an ambitious expansion plan that will see it move to new, enhanced premises in December.
Purchased for a seven-figure sum thanks to the support of a multi-million funding package from HSBC, the firm’s new, 76,000 sq ft site is located at Discovery Park in Stockport, only a few miles away from its current premises at Woodbank Mills.
Rowlinson Knitwear intends to complete significant refurbishments to the property, including installing new site security and modifications to the layout. As well as expanding the business’s logistics capabilities, particularly during peak times, the new site will also provide improved working areas for its 50 staff.
The latter point is a crucial one. Along with its strong partnerships with suppliers and customers, Rowlinson Knitwear is defined by its commitment to caring for its people, something reinforced with its Investors in People Gold award, Workplace Wellbeing Charter national award for England and being ranked as the 23rd Best Workplace by Great Places to Work in 2017.
“As our company has grown massively in the last two years, we faced multiple obstacles to growth with our previous two site set-up,” says Rowlinson Knitwear’s managing director, Donald Moore. “Not only was the small size of the sites restricting our ability to increase our stock, but it was also inefficient as our staff were split between the two. Our new premises will solve these challenges and forms a strong foundation in which we can continue to win market share and provide a great place to work for our staff.”
Commenting on the company’s new chapter, Jason Trigg, HSBC’s area director for Manchester, adds, “We have a long-term relationship with Rowlinson Knitwear after we supported it in becoming majority employee owned in 2015. We are therefore delighted to be part of the company’s relocation to new and improved premises. We look forward to seeing the business grow and our continued support demonstrates our appetite to back local businesses in Stockport and beyond.”
Location: Woodbank Mills, Stockport
Established: 1988 Square footage: 40,000 – over two floors in some areas
Number of staff: 47, with no additional capacity
Production capabilities: Storage capacity of 1.2 million garments
Facilities: An older building with difficult access and inefficient layout, including many offices and work areas lacking natural daylight. No shared employee spaces for rest, meals or informal collaboration
Location: Discovery Park, Stockport
Due to open: 11 December 2017
Square footage: 76,000, which includes double the amount of office space
Number of staff: 47, but with capacity to accommodate up to 90
Production capabilities: Storage capacity of 2.4 million garments
Facilities: A modern, fully refurbished building with excellent access, efficient warehouse areas, light-filled offices and collaborative informal meeting spaces, plus a large shared employee rest area/social space