An expanding domestic appliance repair and refurbishment company has created 45 jobs after moving its warehouse distribution centre to Wearside from Yorkshire.
The Chester-le-Street-based Pacifica Group now employs 51 people in Washington after being awarded a £250,000 grant from the Let’s Grow Regional Growth Fund to support the creation of new jobs.
The company has a 268-strong workforce across the UK and is currently creating more jobs in Washington for domestic appliance engineers, call centre and administration staff.
Set up in 2003, Pacifica runs three main subsidiaries including the 0800 Repair brand, and focuses on repairing and replacing everything from washing machines, fridges and cookers to gas appliances and central heating systems. It works directly with the large domestic appliance manufacturers, insurers, utility companies and retailers as well as domestic customers.
Now the firm is aiming to increase turnover from £22million to more than £30million in the next three years.
The group has set up a unique white goods apprenticeship programme for engineers, with staff periodically brought back to the purpose-built training academy at the Washington site for testing on their product knowledge.
Financial director Scott Pallister and managing director Kevin Brown founded the business after they were made redundant from Northern Electric.
“We have grown from four members of staff to 268 in 12 years. We have now secured ourselves as the largest repairer of white goods and brown goods in the industry," said Scott.
“Around 95 per cent of our business is with major brands but we have a growing domestic market as well, carrying out repairs for customers and installing boilers through our 0800 Repair brand which we are keen to grow.”
The company relocated its warehouse distribution centre from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, to Washington, with support from Sunderland City Council. The council’s business investment team helped to identify suitable property and has worked alongside Pacifica to support its expansion.
Scott Pallister said: “We set ourselves a target of employing 45 new people in Washington and we hit it just before Christmas. The jobs range from warehousing to website content staff.
“We contacted the city council as soon as we’d been to see the building. We needed to apply for change of use permission because it was a former recycling plant.
“We spent just under £2million buying the building and making it suitable for use and the city council was able to direct us to grant assistance for our expenditure. They were most helpful directing us to the right places and helped us to put our offer in.
“We want to be based in the North East; we are a local business and the people here have a good skills base.”
Sunderland City Council deputy leader Coun Harry Trueman said: “The Pacifica Group is an ambitious and expanding company, creating jobs and income in our local economy.
“We are pleased to have been able to support the business in this phase of its growth and look forward to continuing our relationship with the group as it continues to expand.
“Sunderland has a lot going for it as a location for both new and expanding businesses, and our business investment team is able to help enterprises already based in the city or those looking to relocate.”