35 jobs and expansion on the way at award-winning company

The Andrew James team at last year's awards.
The Andrew James team at last year's awards.
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Thirty five jobs are being added to the workforce at an award-winning company.

What a year it has been for Andrew James UK since it won the Large Business category in the 2015 Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards.

It is a good network. And it is good that the awards tell of the inspiring North East business success stories. It is not just the prestiage of winning, it is good for people to be associated with it

Andrew Tomlinson

It has invested £10m in a new distribution site and new offices, and will move in to its new base in Seaham this summer - increasing its workforce from 80 to 115 people.

On top of that, Andrew James is celebrating its 10th anniversary and has also launched its own charity committee in a demonstration of its corporate responsiblity. It will be supporting two local causes and doing a lot of community work.

Andrew James has also been included in a list Britain’s top 100 private companies with the fastest-growing sales over their latest three years.

The firm started out as an international supplier of raclette grills and is now so much more. Ten years on, Andrew James has become the biggest third party seller on Amazon.

Andrew and James began their firm when they sourced an international supplier of raclete grills, and with their irst order of 3,000 grills, the company was born. Other innovative gadgets, and more familiar kitchen items, were added to the range and the company grew.

Today, Andrew Tomlinson - who founded the company along with James Buckle - said the company’s new base was going to be “a flagship of the UK. We have spent over £10m on these two new buildings which is 72,000 sq ft office space and a 120,000sq ft distribution site.

“It is a real opportunity. We are going to be able to help other businesses with their storage.

“We are moving out of our site at Bowburn and going to the next level. We have been going for ten years. This is our anniversary and we are very excited.”

But Andrew also told how becoming a Portfolio winner had been another great boost for the business.

“It is good for the people in the company to be a part of it. When we are in for an award, we take the employees with us. It is not just the prestiage of winning, it is good for people to be associated with it. We are a family business and we do try to engage people.”

Another big aspect of the awards is the way it connects businesses.

Mr Tomlinson met with other business bosses at last year’s competition finals and it led to Andrew James doing business with another Wearside firm.

“It is a good network,” he said. “And it is good that the awards tell of the inspiring North East business success stories.”

he urged other firms to get involved in this year’s competition and said: “It is good to hear about the success of other businesses.”

The search for this year’s contenders is now under way.

Make it Sunderland is again our headline sponsor, and will sponsor our overall Business of the Year Award, as well as a Lifetime Achievement award, which is in the sponsor’s gift.

Make It Sunderland is also backing the contribution social enterprises make to the city in the Social Enterprise Award.

Other sponsors are Maxim, K&L Groundworks, Gentoo and Age Concern.

To nominate send your name, address and telephone number, the name of the person or business you wish to nominate, along with their address, telephone number and email (if known).

State which category your nomination applies to (from the list of categories) and provide a description of the reasons for your nomination (no more than 300 words).

Post your nomination to: Nicola Meldrum, Alexander House, Second Floor, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland. DH4 5RA alternatively email nicola.meldrum@jpress.co.uk or lynn.wild@jpress.co.uk.

The closing date for nominations is Friday, September 2, 2016.