Strong as steel for 30 years: meet our #madeinsandwell Monday star Hawthorn Trading Company

This week’s #madeinsandwell Monday star is Hawthorn Trading Company, the UK’s leading manufacturer of temporary site hoarding, temporary fencing and crowd control barriers, which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary.

Hawthorn Trading CompanyThe business began life in Wednesbury in 1988 as a steel stockholder. Ten years later, it branched out into manufacturing temporary steel hoarding systems, which were an instant success. Within five years, HTC had moved to a purpose-built 50,000 sq ft factory in Smethwick and embarked on a programme of investment and product development.

HTC was the first manufacturer of pre-galvanised steel pedestrian barriers – now a core product for the construction and events industries. Most recently the company introduced SED (safe edge design) fencing. By rolling the steel tube framing in an innovative way, there are no sharp edges, unlike with traditional mesh fencing panels, reducing the risk of injury to handlers and the general public.

Hawthorn Trading Company barriersHTC’s products are used in many industries including automotive, construction, house building, machine building, events and retail. It makes innovative use of recycled steel from the automotive industry, working in partnership with Tata Steel to do so.

The company now operates across four sites and has a fleet of seven delivery vehicles, enabling it to provide a nationwide service. Its recent expansion into new premises also included the purchase of a new slitting machine for producing a soon-to-be revealed new product, which will go to market early in 2019.

Kitty Melhuish at HTC says that advice and financial support from Sandwell Council was instrumental in making the expansion a success. “We wanted to be able to purchase the property and be operating from it in the same year,” she said, “but without the funding we got, this would not have been possible. Going through the financials for the council also forced us to forecast spend properly and keep to tight budgets.”

Nine jobs have been created by the move, including roles for a production manager for the new site, machine operators and sales staff to promote the new product. The company will also be starting apprentice schemes in 2018.

Looking to the future, HTC hopes to continue taking advantage of new business opportunities in order to generate further jobs and improve the lives of people in Sandwell.

#madeinsandwell Monday is a celebration of the talent and diversity of businesses in our borough. If you’re interested in having your business considered for a #madeinsandwell Monday profile, read this.