GORDON Rhodes & Son senior partner, Ian Rhodes, stepped out of semi retirement on August 9 last year after fire swept through the business premises in Chase Way.

The company designs, develops and blends culinary and functional ingredients and spices for the meat, fish, bakery, ready meal and retail industries whose customer base range from small independents retail outlets through to large processors nationally and internationally.

“I got the call at about 10pm to say the factory was on fire. When my wife and I got there it was one massive ball of fire and flame.

“All of a sudden you stand there and you think 38 years of your life, gone,” said Mr Rhodes.

“So you make a decision at that point. Do you stop, or do you knuckle down and start again?”

Clearly the latter was the preferred course of action.

The unforeseen, devastating fire resulted in the entire head office site being burnt to the ground which immediately triggered a contingency plan.

With business-critical decisions, change management and business continuity at the forefront of this process subsequent recruitment drives across several key, operational and temporary roles were implemented in an efficient and effective manner, at a level never experienced before throughout its history. With staff retention a credit to the family business many long-term employees were able to adapt easily from high tech systems to manual operations to ensure business continuity and assist with rebuilding a temporary manufacturing facility.

This included supporting, training and developing new members of staff into their essential roles.

Gordon Rhodes & Son is a third generation family independent seasoning manufacturer established in 1979 who continue to grow and operate within the city of Bradford.

From inception through five factory sites, the business continues to operate out of temporary premises in Bradford until planning permission is granted to reinstate the factory on its original site at Chase Way.