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Footprint brand back in business

Published: 16 October 2009
Sheffield-based hand tools brand Footprint has recommenced production at its Sedgley Road site in Owlerton, Sheffield under the name Footprint Sheffield, the former holding company of Footprint Tools.
Footprint brand back in business
The Jewitt family, who have owned the brand since 1948, has secured the brand and intellectual property.

Speaking exclusively to DIY Week, managing director Christopher Jewitt said: "As of October 1, Footprint Sheffield Ltd, the former holding company of Footprint Tools commenced operations, producing a limited portfolio of products from the old Footprint Tools range. At this point they consist of the iconic tools - the Footprint Wrench, both thumbturn and original 698, together with the Builder's line pin. Then in the New Year we'll be looking at other products to bring on line - but it will be a limited range."

Footprint Tools entered voluntary liquidation back in May this year after the recession and the credit crunch hit the business at the worst possible time - just as it was moving to brand new, purpose-built premises. Speaking at the time Mr Jewitt explained the decision to enter a state of solvent liquidation, saying the company wanted to go honourably, ensure creditors were paid and conduct a "dignified exit".
Retailers and end users alike, many of whom have visited www.diyweek.net from as far afield as the US and Australia to express their regret that the company had entered voluntary liquidation, will welcome the news.

That support has played a key part in the decision to bring back the brand. Mr Jewitt said: "The members' voluntary liquidation has gone well so far. So much so that the response of our customers has given us the confidence to secure the brand and commence operations under Footprint Sheffield. For the time being we will operate from the new Footprint Tools premises - Admiral Works on Sedgley Road, Owlerton, Sheffield.

"As a family we're absolutely delighted - the brand that has been in the ownership of our family since 1948, and in existence since 1875 will not disappear. We're able to continue and to offer employment for anything up to a dozen former employees of Footprint Tools."

Comments

Published prior to March 2014
By Tim Jewitt
A few years later than all the other comments but wanted to explain further what happened.

When we entered into liquidation in 2009 we were asset rich, but cash poor. We had of plenty of assets but no cash with which to pay staff and bills with.

The main reason for this was that we were moving to a new factory and investing in custom made forging equipment. Therefore we had ceased production to move into the new factory and had invested heavily in building up finished stock to cover us for the period of the move.

Unfortunately the recession hit and all the cash was tied up as stock and not selling to generate cash. We had to pay wages, bills plus the additional cost of moving all our machinery (most machines were several tons in weight and are embedded in concrete foundations) led to no cash.

As a family it was heartbreaking decision to enter Members Voluntary Liquidation. My grandfather (second generation)and father had worked there all their lives. You could say Footprint was member of our family.

We did use the government to step in and pay the redundancy. However, much to the Civil Service's surprise (apparently this doesn't happen very often) we did fully repay the Government for all the redundancy pay that they had paid. All our staff were kept fully informed of the decision and why we had made it and what was going to happen.

When we closed the business the family still owned a lot of the assets. But it was decided to have another go, we started up smaller. When we were closing we didn't think we would re-start again so had sold off most of machinery, including our large forging equipment, to raise cash to eventually pay all our creditors and redundancy payments.

The new company is predominantly made up of old employees and we are growing.

In January 2014 we bought a larger forge and are now forging everything ourselves. We are slowly growing the business again and winning back customers who had re-sourced to Chinese or Indian made products.

As a family we learned that timing is everything and for us we got the timing wrong. When we closed we were turning ourselves around and investing in new custom made machinery, we were planning on growing not shrinking.

Thank you to all our customers who have supported Footprint as we rebuild Footprint Tools and invest in British manufacturing.
Published prior to March 2014
By Norman Deplume
As a buyer for a very large distributor, I have many years experience of Footprint Tools. Their demise had a certain inevitability as they have always been run like we are still in 1948. Not even the best time to get out - their huge plot on Hollis Croft, surrounded by new flat developments, will take some shifting now the market has gone flat.
Published prior to March 2014
By PARTNER OF FORMER EMPLOYEE
Having read all the comments below I am glad to see that the phoenix is arising from the ashes, and that business is to restart with some people getting their old jobs back. According to one comment here and many on your previous thread when Footprint went into liquidation they will have lots of support from businesses wishing to purchase the quality goods, and if those people do support Footprint, then they should do well.
My only concern is reading the less optimistic comments I have wondered about the earlier situation with redunancies for the whole company, and the re-instatement now of just a few. The reason for my doubts? Having read the Liquidation thread I see Christopher Jewitt left a comment saying watch this space.... only 5 weeks after the ALL staff were made redundant! If there had been a glimmer of hope at that stage was it necessary to put everyone on the unemployed statistics, together with loss of money, self esteem, confidence and pride?
Published prior to March 2014
By Ann Tooth
As a wife of a redundant husband, whose firm gave all staff 1 days notice of redundancy then told them there was no money, that the government would pay the statutory payment 8 weeks later, at a big drop in redundancy pay, I fully understand the comments if these folks have been through a similar situation.
My husband is still looking for work and if his previous company re-invented themselves a few months later, I for one would be angry and frustrated, particularly if there was no new job offer for all the old workforce. Yes, it is good if manufacturing is clawing it way back moreover if jobs are being created, but if you read the article no new jobs have been created here, so it has, in reality, just been a reduction of the workforce! Let's hope that everyone out there feels as strongly as Mark, then Footprint will be able to offer all it's former employees there jobs back, and create even more, not just the 12 as stated. When that happens that will be a time to celebrate!
Published prior to March 2014
By Mark Richards
I think it is fantastic news that one of the last UK tool manufacturers has managed to find a way to continue trading. This is despite the Governments best efforts to eradicate manufacturing of any sort in the UK with there criminal and continual lack of support. I for one will be first in line to buy my British manufactured footprint tool and suggest that the two people above do something to support these companies rather than projecting cynical views that knock them. Good luck to all at Footprint, most of us are behind you.
Published prior to March 2014
By Chris Baker
.it is good to see jobs being created but It does make you wonder, unfortunately too many companies now use the recession as a excuse to get out of paying full redundency and let the insolvency office pay most of the monies due to the unfortunate people loosing their jobs and not getting their full payouts.but i hope this is not the case here, but on a small range how do they hope to carry on when customers have already sourced alternatives. I hope it succeeds if only for the workforce and job security.
Published prior to March 2014
By C I Nycle
Not really a surprise. I wonder if it was always the plan to return with a smaller workforce. The recession, as we all know has hit many people, at the same time allowing some companies to allow a reconstruction and down sizing of employees - unfortunately for the employees concerned. Although this may not be the case here, there are companies doing so.

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