BEHIND the impressive and imposing facade of the former Barclays Bank on Melbourne Street lies one of Stalybridge’s most successful companies.
Opus 4 Logistics Ltd were recently crowned best medium sized firm at the Pride of Tameside Business Awards.
It was recognition for the office design and office interiors business that employs 36 people and had an annual turnover of approximately £8.5million.
That contrast sharply to 1996 when former managing director Gordon Handley, a prominent businessman, founded the office fit out and refurbishment company in Hyde that at that time employed between eight and 10 and had a turnover of between £1.5million and £2million.
Their high quality, high end work saw them carrying out fit outs, mainly for law and professional services companies.
Current managing director Daniel Blackburn joined Opus 4 Logistics in 2001 and, when Gordon retired the following year, he bought the company.
In 2004 he put in place the current management structure of himself assisted by operations director David Murphy and marketing director Andrew Jackson.
The growing business relocated to Stalybridge in 2013 after buying the bank building that had been unoccupied for some time.
Andrew explained that they saw an opportunity to restore the building to its original splendour and have it as the company’s base.
He said: “We used our in-house skills in design management and fit out to breathe life into the building with a major refurbishment.
“Original features such as the vaults were preserved and they were incorporated into the Bond Room.”
Andrew added that under the new management there have been major changes.
“We realised office fit-outs and refurbishments were more design led and we wanted to be more design focused and creative, helping to provide solutions,” he explained.
And as a result of this change, the business began to grow in terms of staff numbers and turnover.
Today there are 36 staff – 16 based in the state-of-the-art offices on Melbourne Street and 20 on site which an be anywhere in the UK.
They include furniture manager Paula Chadwick, their longest-serving employee who has been with them since the start.
Andrew added the whole of the offices also act as a showroom with everything usable and workable.
“In the four years in Stalybridge we have pitched for work 12 times and everyone who has visited has committed,” he continued.
Andrew said a conscious decision was made to employ local people and a number of Stalybridge residents work for the firm.
They also believe in apprenticeships and have recruited locals as joiners and painters.
Andrew referred to the staff as a “very tight knit team” saying they have social events and fun socially to provide bonding, resulting in them working better as a team.
“The feedback we receive from clients is that we are warm and friendly so it rubs off on them,” he said.
“We find the work place culture is the key drive to a successful business which is why we have provided a stimulating environment and that work can be fun.”
Opus 4 Logistics has only entered the Tameside business awards twice, and been a winner each time. In 2015 they were construction business of the year. They have also won further trade awards.
After recent growth, Andrew says he company is looking for a period of consolidation, explaining it is an exciting time with new ways of working presenting opportunities for them.
Andrew described Brexit as a “big challenge” saying, though they don’t sell to Europe, they buy from the them so there could be a ripple effect.