Thanks so much to the KM Group for using this piece on an expanding Strood company. I've included the original release below as it was such a lovely story about a 50-year-old company that was started by a 20-year-old and has grown to be a multi-million pound giant in the construction industry.
A specialist paving supplier, approaching its 50th year in business, is about to enter a new chapter after securing over £3million in investment to open a new factory in Strood and a retail outlet in Lincoln.
Castacrete was originally started by Terry Smallman on a small site near Maidstone, Kent when he was just 20, after his father had a six-week wait for their patio paving slabs. Today, the Castacrete Group employs 100 staff across its manufacturing plants and 10 retail sites, supplying decorative paving products to builders’ merchants, DIY chains and garden centres throughout the UK.
Realising that demand for block and “rumbled” paving was rising during the recession, outstripping the speed at which their supplier could react, Smallman decided to invest in specialist machinery and manufacture block paving products on a larger scale themselves.
They approached Grahame Wells, Relationship Director at RBS’ Commercial and Private banking division who assisted in obtaining a loan of £600,000 to help fund the construction of a bespoke building to house the new machinery. An additional loan of £2.5m was provided by the bank’s asset finance specialist Lombard.
The new Strood factory means the creation of five new jobs and a predicted 30% increase in turnover.
“My school teachers always said I should run my own business,” said Terry, who now owns outlets in Leicester, Coventry, Halesowen, Bristol, High Wycombe, Strood, Maidstone, Ashford, and the latest one in Somerset. “It appears they were right”.
“I left school when I was 14 and went on a retail management course. When dad had to wait six weeks for his paving slabs for our patio, he joked that this is what I should do and so I went into paving,” he added.
The secret to success is to be competitive, said Terry, whose son Christopher helps run the Ashford site. He said: “Our retail sales are growing and people are shopping around to find us. A large part of Castacrete’s success is due to our loyal and hardworking staff and the very good management team we have in place”.
Terry described the five-year relationship with Grahame Wells at RBS as “invaluable” and that it had enabled him to diversify and grow the business.
Grahame added: “Having known Terry for five years I understand his business, its history and integrity. With our experience we have been able to help take this independent family business on to the next exciting chapter in its long history.”