A Garstang businessman is planning to ensure his adopted town earns renown at a top trade show.
Business is booming says stone merchant David Evans, who has supplied venues ranging from Sandringham and Blenheim Palace to local homes.
Now he is planning to showcase his Stone UK business at the internationally renowned Natural Stone Show at London’s ExCel.
The event draws architects, interior designers and construction experts from as far away as China and Brazil.
“For a medium-sized company like us to be exhibiting among plcs and international stone organisations from all round the world is great news,” said managing director David.
“They’ll all be asking where we come from and we’ll be saying Garstang!”
David, 33, attributes much of Stone UK’s success to the company’s move from Blackpool nearly three years ago.
He has just taken on four extra staff, bringing the total up to 15, bought a new £30,000 stone saw and set up a reclamation division. He sources warm sandstone from a quarry near Longridge.
He said: “Things have taken off since we came to Green Lane West. There are a lot of older properties around Garstang and we believe we’re in the heart of an area that’s great for our industry.”
David quoted for £400,000 of work in January – all within 15 minutes’ drive from their one-acre base and said: “If we get most of this – and we’ve already had £150,000 confirmed, £75,000 is being finalised and contractors we supply have been awarded a contract for the rest – it will be our best month in the 12 years since Stone UK was founded.”
Just before Christmas, he set up Garstang Reclamation, supplying used stone of all types, ironwork, timber and architectural curiosities. By June he hopes to be operating a saw mill to cut reclaimed timber.
David, who now lives in Garstang too, left school in Blackpool at 15 without any qualifications except a GCSE grade B in pottery. But a neighbour who set up as stone merchant offered him a job and he discovered his passion for stone.
“I travelled around and got to see some of the quarries and projects we supplied and I was just transfixed by stone. It fired a passion in me and I wanted to know more,” he said.
“What I love is that it’s not a processed product. It’s given to us, as good as the pure earth, and it stands the test of time.”
His prestigious clients include the Natural History Museum and Order of St John Museum, in London; West Midland Safari Park and Cranleigh School, in Surrey. Locally, clients include St Michaels on-Wyre Church, the Cartford Inn at Little Eccleston and council buildings in Dalton Square, Lancaster.