September 17, 2020 @ 13:58 by Steven Hugill
A family-run paper and confidential waste shredding firm founded over a kitchen table says it is primed to smash a £1 million turnover target after shrugging off the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Shred Centre says it has “strengthened for the long-term” thanks to changes made during the enforced trading hiatus.
When lockdown began, the County Durham business, run by husband and wife Patrick and Natalie Stephens, lost a large amount of work as offices and schools closed.
However, having previously spent £200,000 on equipment, the Spennymoor-based firm was able to diversify and handle material from other companies involved in the collection of various grades of wastepaper and cardboard.
As a result, it has increased the amount of paper it processes from 200 tonnes a month prior to lockdown, to 600 tonnes per month.
And, following the re-opening of schools and employees returning to their workplaces, Patrick says he is confident it can grow further over the next year, revealing plans are in place for an additional document shredder.
The business, founded in 2013, is also considering further diversification around the shredding of alternative items such as mattresses and wooden pallets.
Patrick said: “We were on target to achieve the landmark turnover figure of £1 million this financial year, but have fallen just short after being impacted by COVID-19.
“However, thanks to the investments made over the past year, we were able to respond to the situation by diversifying into other areas.
“As a result, I’m confident we will continue to grow and achieve £1 million turnover during the coming financial year, which is quite an accomplishment for a business founded over the kitchen table.”
The Shred Centre, which offers both mobile and off-site shredding, operates six trucks and employs 11 staff, and offers regular or one-off collections to businesses and individuals across the North East, Yorkshire, the North West and the Midlands.
It also offers shredding services for hard drives, textiles and media.
Any paper collected is taken to the Essity plant in Prudhoe, Northumberland, where it is recycled and made into toilet roll.