Thor plans expansion after flying in to save jobs in Sunderland

Raj Morjaria (left), director of Thor North, and Coun Harry Trueman.
Raj Morjaria (left), director of Thor North, and Coun Harry Trueman.
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A car parts and accessories firm which saved 21 jobs in Sunderland is now aiming to expand its customer base from its new northern branch.

Thor North was created after the collapse of Maccess Ltd, which went into administration in March, and is part of the Peterborough-based independent automotive distributor Thor Motor Factors.

Director Raj Morjaria, who was a director at Maccess from 1996 to 2006, was contacted by David Harbison and staff at the Washington Maccess branch who were about to lose their jobs when the business went into administration.

He worked with Sunderland City Council’s business investment team to secure external financial support to open the company’s first branch outside of Peterborough and find suitable premises.

Thor North is now operating from Teal Farm Park business park in Washington, where it has taken two units with 11,400sq ft of space to house staff and more than 15,000 product lines.

“Thor is a family business and we’ve done this to secure the jobs of my former colleagues,” said Raj.

“Maccess had 15 depots nationwide and we felt we needed to do something to help.

“Staff here have known the customer base for the last 30 years and we want to support the customer base in this area and maintain their loyalty. That’s the priority.

“David Harbison has been made a director in the new business and it was his and the staff’s enthusiasm and commitment that persuaded us to open the new branch”.

Thor is a trade-only business that distributes a huge range of automotive supplies from chemicals to accessories, parts and tools to customers including Motor Factors, car accessory shops and forecourts. It also supplies more technical equipment such as callipers and drive-shafts for industry professionals.

“Where we’re located is a fantastic position to service customers in Sunderland, Newcastle and Teesside,” said Raj.

“Further down the line, it’s a good base to expand into the M62 corridor – Leeds, Bradford, Manchester, Liverpool and Hull – and further north into Scotland, particularly Edinburgh and Glasgow.”

City council deputy leader Coun Harry Trueman said: “We applaud Thor’s actions to safeguard jobs in Sunderland and are 100 per cent behind the company’s plans to grow its business from its new northern offices.”