The Expansion as the current owner, Robert Price, remembers it

The beginning

Trent Pottery started in 1950's / was registered as a Company in 1960 and was based in a 4000 sq ft unit in Aylestone Village near Leicester. At that time ts, not mine because I was only 1 year old in 1960! - main business was buying plain white pottery and decorating it with lithographic decals and gold lining and firing it in 2 kilns we had there. In the years after the war decorated pottery was not available ( I think for some years it wasn't allowed to sell it ) so this gave some good work for my parents and some employees at that time. I remember in the 1970's helping my dad who would outsource the artwork that made the decals. It would come in several pages, each page a different colour forming part of the picture. He had a darkroom and some quite sophisticated photo equipment that we would use to make negatives from each of the components of the image and then we would use the negatives to make litho screens that we used in a special machine where we would put a screen in , add the colour and then the next colour and the next to make up the image. Very much like Andy Warhol, with his Marilyn Monroe and Heinz Beans prints, but not nearly as profitable!

They also sold some other related items, like cutlery and some furniture, but at this time not such a big part of the business. While still in Aylestone my mum set up a pottery / cutlery / furniture rental business which we sold to a friendly competitor in the 1990's as the furniture business took over.

From pottery to furniture

In 1970 my dad had a 8500 sq ft factory / Warehouse built in Narborough village. I joined them in 1985 and by that time imports of pottery and cutlery from China had made our decorating business difficult to make a profit. We still sold souvenir pottery until the mid 1980's - for example I remember mugs, plates or glasses with nice illustrated pictures and 'Souvenir of Dorset, Tenby, Skegness', etc. , glasses with 'Dad's Pint' or 'Mum's Half' , Mugs with 'Ness Coffee' and a picture of the Loch Ness Monster on to sell to tourists there. All good classy stuff! Again, in the early 1980's this became available from Taiwan and too cheap for us to compete with so we moved quite rapidly at that time into furniture. My dad died in 1993 and I took over then.

Expanding product range due to growing demand

Through the catering hire business we had quite a few friendly contacts in other cater hire and marquee hire Companies so started looking for furniture we could offer them - stacking chairs , folding chairs and folding tables have always been important for these industries. We sold more furniture to pubs, cafes, restaurants and clubs and enjoyed working with them so looked for other products we could offer. At this time we started selling traditional cast iron pub tables which are really attractive and extremely strong and remain very popular now. We expanded the range of chairs and tables through the 1990's and continue to look for new designs to offer.

Finding the perfect spot for our new premises

In 2010 and engineering Company in the building opposite ours was relocating and the owner offered it to us. As we were always struggling for space it seemed like the ideal opportunity and we had it. Really fortunately, later that year, a farmer who owned land and woodland around the estate, retired and put it all up for sale in several lots. At the time I wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do, because it was still in close memory of the 2008 banking and economic troubles but I bid on a lot of 4 1/2 acres of land that shared a boundary with the factory we had just bought from the Engineering Company. The bidding started strongly but petered out quickly and stopped at what I even at that time thought was a bargain price. So then we had a field that wasn't really practical for farming as was isolated and next to an industrial estate. So for 3 years the grass was mowed and we gave the bales to a Lady who ran a Llama sanctuary in the next village. In 2013 we applied to our council - Blaby District Council - to allow some of the land to be used to extend the property. They were really helpful and gave us the permission. As a result of the expansion, we have been able taken on 4 new members into the Trent Furniture team.

Why did we do it?

Another benefit of the expansion is to help us to be able to stock more products and supply our customers quickly and efficiently. Also, because the extension has been very economical - we bought the land at a great price and the building has been effected very reasonably, we can continue to offer our customers great quality products at really good prices, don't need to recoup the cost of the building work.

The building uses the most modern technology and has 5" thick insulation sandwiched between the steel sheets that make the walls, so is very very eco - friendly!

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