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Ashtree's name change as business prospers
8:00am Monday 14th January 2013 in News
An award-winning Bradford company has changed its name to better reflect its current operations as it continues to expand.
Ashtree Glass will now be known as Ashtree Vision & Safety Ltd as glass products account for only 35 per cent of sales.
Founder and managing director Alan Roper said: “The original name originated from my time at Applied Art Glass, but glass products now comprise only 35 per cent of sales value, the rest being mainly made up of plastic mirrors and mirror arms.
“We are launching a new catalogue later this month so it seemed an appropriate time to make the change. Also, people tend to associate glass with windows, rather than mirrors.”
The company, which recently received its Queen’s Award for International Trade when the Duke of Gloucester visited the factory in Brownroyd Street, off Thornton Road, hosted more dignitaries when the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Bradford, Coun Dale Smith and Margaret Smith toured the plant.
The Lord Mayor saw the £300,000 extension to the 40,000 sq ft premises, a former dyeworks, into which some production has been moved. Ashtree is taking a ‘DIY’ approach to fitting out the rest of the building for offices and warehousing.
Mr Roper, who started the business in 1978 in the former Ashtree pub at Thornton, Bradford, said the business had continued to progress during 2012.
That was despite difficult trading conditions with sales running at around three per cent ahead of the previous year.
As key markets in Europe were stalled by recession, Ashtree worked on opening up new areas of business and recently delivered its first order of mirrors for construction equipment – a growing sector of business – to India. Its mirrors are also fitted on buses in Hong Kong.
Alan Roper said: “Europe remains a major market for us but as times get more difficult we need to look elsewhere for business.
“It’s encouraging that while financial constraints may mean customers buying fewer items they continue to seek quality products like those we make.
“We keep a tight rein on our own costs and I'm happy that we're in a position to continue looking forward with confidence.”
Ashtree is the UK market leader in bus mirrors, with every British bus builder being a customer. It exports 40 per cent of its output, including to Germany where its main rival is based, and manufactures the widest range of commercial rear view mirrors in Europe, making nearly 200,000 complete mirrors, 80,000 replacement glasses and lenses and more than 40,000 mirror arms.
Ashtree Glass also played a key role in the development of the new generation of Routemaster London buses which took to the streets of the capital a year ago.
In 2011, the company won the medium/large business category and was also named winner of winners in the T&A Bradford Means Business awards.