They have more than one reason to celebrate at Regency Glass this year. The Lancashire-based processor has not only notched up 30 years in business but is also on course for its third successive year of record sales – and the factory is so busy it is having to share out work to its sister company, Glasscraft in Leeds.
Demand is growing in all areas but especially new-build which now accounts for about 20% of Regency’s work. There is also an increasing trend in the sector towards triple glazing for new developments, and both new-build and retrofit customers are going for ever better U-Values.
“We’ve never been busier,” says Sales & Marketing Manager Steve Massey, “and all of our customers are busy too. There’s been a massive upsurge in new-build, mainly due to easier mortgages, and we are finding that triple glazed is being specified here now more and more. Also, virtually all our retrofit business is argon-filled nowadays though we are seeing some increased demand for krypton.”
Continuing, he adds, “Everyone’s after better and better U-Values and with the help of Saint-Gobain Glass, we are able to give them what they want. We have started using Planitherm One because we can get a U-Value of 1 on double glazed units with a 16mm argon-filled gap and of course better again with triple glazed.”
One of the downsides of having a long history is that the machinery can get a bit historic too so Regency has been investing heavily to keep ahead. It recently spent £300,000 on a new arrissing line and is now looking to put £800,000 into replacing its 15-year-old toughening unit. The existing one still does a good job, Steve explained, but it was not designed for offline coated glasses so it’s too slow to keep up with the company’s bursting order books.
This year is not only well set for another record performance but the first half alone has seen turnover up by £1million on last and the factory is now up to and sometimes beyond capacity. However, Regency’s parent company, the CorpAcq Group also bought another processor, Glasscraft in Leeds three years ago and this is now proving a very useful solution for Regency’s surplus business, as Steve explained.
“We have all been working hard to turn Glasscraft around to work the way we do, so now, as well as it being a successful company in its own right, we are able to pass some of our work to Leeds knowing it will be done to our standards. Also, we have a few customers who are physically nearer to Leeds so it makes sense in every way.”
Growth has also meant more people, and in the last six months Regency has taken on ten new staff bringing its workforce to around 90, though Steve stresses it still depends heavily on the skill and experience of its longer-serving staff. “Many have been with the company 20 years and a few go right back to the early days,” he explains. “They are absolutely invaluable to us – and our customers – and an asset that not every company like us could claim to have.”
There have been many high points in the 30-year history of Regency Glass but one stands out from the rest, even if only for sentimental reasons – Regency was the first ever independent customer for UK-made glass from Saint-Gobain.
Of course, much else has happened to this forward-thinking processor down through the decades, but to have received that very first consignment when Eggborough began production in 2000 means it will always have a place in SGG’s history.