It is 20 years this year since The Cylinder Service Centre first started trading and looking back over that time it is remarkable how much has changed in the world.
Time really has flown since our Managing Director and founder Gary Davison established the business with (in his words) "little more than a Black and Decker Workmate and a drill".
It had been just a few short years after the fall of the Berlin wall, which does seem almost like ancient history now, and some notable events of 1994 also show just how long ago it really was. For example, it was the year the Channel tunnel was officially opened and Tony Blair became the Labour Party leader. It was also the year Sunday trading started and the National Lottery was launched.
Just two years after the launch of the business it was fully incorporated into the business it is now and the path was set for steady and sustainable growth almost 100% year on year.
Our first premises, that could be described as fully specialised, was setup in central Washington around the same time as the business was incorporated. We were there for twelve years and it is very fair to say that, when the idea of building the current factory was first mooted in 2006, we really were straining at the seams. We were repairing and manufacturing cylinders then that were sometimes so large that the problem was not the fixing, or the manufacturing, but how to get them in and out of the factory.
In contrast, the new purpose built factory we had built and moved in to in 2008 was a revelation. Located on the outskirts of Washington near the A1, but still very close to the A19, made the location much more accessible and the dedicated two acre site now provides plenty of room to get pretty much anything in and out of the factory.
This extra space has allowed the business to steadily add new strings to its bows and new facilities such as the vehicle servicing section. We have also added further production and storage space over the last few years significantly increasing the overall production capacity.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing over the last 20 years has been the ability of the business to continue to grow. We moved into the new premises in 2008, just as the worldwide crash was hitting. This could have been disastrous timing and at the time did present some very serious challenges. However, the highly specialised nature of our business has allowed steady growth since that time and the new location site itself has also been a huge help.
Gary Davison said "The last 20 years really has been a journey, but as the business has grown the way it has - even through the worst part of the last 6 years - then we can feel very optimistic about a future where trading conditions are likely to be much better".