A family-owned fire safety firm is aiming to double its turnover by reaching new markets with the help of a five-figure investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported by The European Regional Development Fund.

Cherry Parts has been successfully supplying fire protection equipment to trade customers from its North Tyneside base for more than two decades and currently turns over around £1m every year.

But it is now looking to expand its customer base by setting up a new webstore which will sell a comprehensive range of health and safety-related products to both businesses and the general public, such as defibrillators and evacuation chairs, as well as a new line of a new line of own brand premium first aid kits.

The Cherry Parts management team has worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to secure the £75,000 Small Loan Fund investment via the Recovery Loan Scheme, which will support the development and marketing of the new webstore and the recruitment of the personnel required to manage the new service.

A number of new jobs are expected to be created as the online business develops, while the management team is hoping that its turnover will quickly reach the same level as its existing operations.

Cherry Parts was introduced to NEL by Julie Cuthbertson of longstanding advisors RMT Accountants & Business Advisors, who also supported the management team through the investment application.

Janet Maxted, managing director at Cherry Parts, says: “The business has been trading successfully since 1999, but the increasing recognition of the importance of and need for safety equipment across all workplace and domestic situations made us realise how much more we do could with it.

“Diversifying the product range opens up a whole new range of opportunities, while putting our own brand onto products for the first time is a landmark development that utilises the strong reputation we’ve built in our core market sector.

“Our success has always been based on good communication, excellent product knowledge and the highest standards of customer service, and we’ll be applying these principles just as much to our new operation.

“We think we can double our current turnover within a fairly short space of time through the new webstore and think we’ll see more new jobs being created here as we grow.

“NEL’s interest in us as people, as well as in our business performance, made the investment option they presented the right one for us to choose, while RMT’s expert advice and guidance has been instrumental in many of the decisions we’ve made around our service developments and future growth strategy.”

Mike Guellard, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “Cherry Parts is a successful, mature business that is still displaying a hunger for growth and we’re very pleased to be part of the next phase of its development.”

Julie Cuthbertson, corporate finance manager at RMT Accountants & Business Advisors, says: “Janet and the team are building on an enviable reputation within their core area of expertise and now have every opportunity to take their business to the next level.

“It’s been great to work with the team on the development and execution of their exciting plans for their new venture and to have helped them bring in the growth capital they need to put them into action.”

Part of the £120m North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of between £10,000 and £100,000 to businesses in Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland.

It is designed to assist with the creation of over 1,200 new regional jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the life of the fund.

The overarching £120m North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.