School furniture firm in £3m plan to double workforce

EME makes a range of furniture for schools. Picture: Contributed

EME makes a range of furniture for schools. Picture: Contributed

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A school furniture specialist is set to double its workforce in Dumfriesshire as part of a £3 million expansion plan.

The cash injection has seen EME Furniture move from two separate buildings totalling 35,000 square feet to a new 115,000sq ft manufacturing facility in Sanquhar, trebling its floor space.

Gerard Toplass, chief executive of EME owner British Thornton. Picture: Contributed

Gerard Toplass, chief executive of EME owner British Thornton. Picture: Contributed

It is now hoping to grow its 35-strong headcount to 71 over the next three years, bringing extra staff across a range of disciplines, from welders and machine operators to project managers and designers.

EME, which has recently provided furniture for the £30m Harris Academy in Dundee and the £26m Clyde Valley Campus in Wishaw, is also forecasting that turnover will more than double from last year’s level of £2.6m to £5.5m in 2018.

The firm began trading in 1965 and has been owned by West Yorkshire group British Thornton since 2009.

Gerard Toplass, chief executive of British Thornton, said: “We’re incredibly proud of EME Furniture’s history of designing and building products in Scotland and have been determined from the outset to support and grow this arm of the business.

“Scotland is a crucial area for us so it was a natural step to make such a big investment in our Sanquhar plant.”

He added: “The expansion of this plant will allow us to substantially increase capacity in line with the increased demand we’re seeing from both the Scottish and wider UK market. We’re confident that the investment in this plant will see the business go from strength to strength and continue to increase its market share in the British educational furniture market.”

About half of the £3m factory investment has been spent on new equipment aimed at increasing productivity and expanding its range of products.

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