Uniform and instrument business enjoys sound growth

Left to right: Robin Watson, non-executive director of Centre Stage Group, Stephen Cardwell of Finance Yorkshire, and Nick Makinson, Liz Bearpark, Martin Gernon, Neil Edwards and Hannah Williamson of Centre Stage Group

Yorkshire-based Centre Stage Group – a Finance Yorkshire backed business – has won a major contract to supply percussion instruments to the Ministry of Defence.

Finance Yorkshire has invested more than £600,000 in Centre Stage Group over the last three years, enabling the company to become a leading supplier of uniforms and instruments to bands and orchestras across the world.

Established by brass band enthusiast and percussionist Martin Gernon, Centre Stage exports its products to nations across Europe and is growing its export business in Australia and New Zealand.

In the UK, Mytholmroyd-based Centre Stage, supplies the renowned Halle Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia as well as the Black Dyke and Cory brass bands.

The MoD contract runs for the next four years across all types of percussion instruments and accessories. To promote the brand further within the MoD, the company has arranged a series of industry days with the main users of the MoD for them to get better acquainted with the brand and products.

Martin Gernon said: “Finance Yorkshire’s investments have been invaluable in enabling us to not only grow our uniform business but to expand into the new areas of percussion instruments and soft furnishings. Its investments are now enabling us to create some additional posts in the business and an infrastructure that gives us the ability to cope with large contracts across all three areas of the Centre Stage Group.”

In addition to its uniforms and instruments businesses, Centre Stage also runs a soft furnishings company, called Hannah Williamson, whose 100% UK manufactured upholstered furniture and soft furnishings range has more than 200 UK stockists.

The business also has national contracts with house builders to furnish their showrooms and counts among its clients the Highgrove estate, the private residence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and a number of UK stately homes. The show home business alone will double the turnover and profit of the group for 2016.

Finance Yorkshire Chief Executive Alex McWhirter said: “Our investments and continued support have helped to transform the Centre Stage business, enabling it to achieve sustainable growth year on year to the point where it is now the UK market leader for the supply of band uniforms. Not only that, our support has allowed Martin and his team to exploit new opportunities which have seen the development of the instruments side of the business.

“Centre Stage is an excellent example of Finance Yorkshire’s role in providing investment which in turn delivers business growth and job creation to the benefit of the regional economy.”

Finance Yorkshire’s investments to date have created and safeguarded 10,196 jobs across Yorkshire and the Humber, increased turnover by £309 million and generated private sector leverage of £179 million.

Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m to help a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development.

The project is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme, UK Government and match funding from the European Investment Bank.

For more information about Finance Yorkshire, please visit www.finance-yorkshire.com or call 0300 030 6060.

Note: this news article is from Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund. Read more about Finance Yorkshire