AN AGRICULTURAL fabrications company is growing rapidly as it taps into the popular ‘glamping’ market and sees demand for its designs soar across the country.
Family-firm Ellipse Fabrications, has moved into Stainton Grove Industrial Estate in Barnard Castle, which is run by Business Durham, to cater for the growth in its business. The firm designs and manufactures agricultural sheds, garden centre canopies and now mobile glamping pods for campsites.
Founder, Stuart Metcalf, believes the ‘up market’ camping sector offers further opportunities for growth and had the idea for a glamping pod on wheels following an enquiry at an exhibition.
“It’s taking something which is pretty off the shelf for us and adapting it for the market, as each of the leisure shelters can be customised to whatever the clients wants,” he said.
“The response we’ve had to it has been quite remarkable. The things which set it apart are the veranda, which others don’t seem to have, and the quality of internal space. Others seem to have curved roofs running in the opposite direction so it tends to feel a bit claustrophobic at one end. We’ve created more headroom so people tell us it feels enormous by comparison.”
Stuart grew up on a dairy farm near Staindrop and studied for a degree in agricultural engineering before a career in the horticultural engineering sector. He’d previously been involved in another business until launching Ellipse in March last year, which now employs eight staff. With 30 years’ experience, Stuart and co-director wife Julie, are looking to take on more staff later this year as the business expands.
“We’re pretty innovative in what we do. We have a core customer base and they work with us. Customers come to us with challenges, like ventilation issues, and we come up with the solutions,” added Stuart.
Stainton Grove is run by Business Durham, the economic development organisation for County Durham, working on behalf of Durham County Council.
Sarah Slaven, interim managing director of Business Durham, said: “We look forward to seeing Ellipse thrive in their new business home. With their innovative design skills and an ability to create new products by listening and responding to customers’ needs, they have all the elements for success.”
Ellipse’s AGRI designs have a range of uses from fodder stores and horse shelters, to calf rearing units and poly tunnels. They are sought after for their air flow and PVC roofs which have lifespans in the region of25 years. Latterly, Ellipse’s garden centre designs, replacing old worn canopies for new entranceways, have proved popular and now account for around a third of the business.