Turnberry Rug workers take control of company

Turnberry Rug Works has been bought by its eight staff. Picture: Colin Hattersley
Turnberry Rug Works has been bought by its eight staff. Picture: Colin Hattersley
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A RUG-MAKING company that has supplied carpets for the Big Brother house, British embassies and the Vatican has been bought by its staff.

Turnberry Rug Works (TRW) has been making carpets and wall hangings by hand at its converted granary in Ayrshire since 1991.

Now the eight staff at the company, which turns over about £450,000 a year, are taking control of the firm.

John McKerchar was drafted in as managing director after the death of the company’s founder, with a remit to take the business towards employee ownership.

McKerchar said: “Most of our team has been with us for two decades. Employee ownership not only rewards their loyalty but gives them a real stake in the business.”

TRW is one of six Scottish companies exhibiting today at Decorex, an international interior design trade show being held in London.

McKerchar added: “What we offer is a unique and proud handmade product that cannot simply be mass produced. International growth is a key priority for us, and we’re grateful to Scottish Enterprise for helping us exhibit at Decorex.”

Sarah Deas, chief executive at Co-operative Development Scotland, Scottish Enterprise’s employee-ownership support unit, added: “This is a good move for TRW and helps safeguard traditional manufacturing skills. The deal keeps it grounded in its community and shows how employee ownership can sustain businesses and help them grow.

“This is also good news for Scotland’s textiles sector, which contributes £350 million to Scotland’s economy each year through exports.”

In 2011, TRW teamed up with Glasgow-based design studio Timorous Beasties to create a tapestry for the National Trust for Scotland to exhibit in the coffee shop at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway.