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Wholefoods supplier enjoys healthy growth with bank support

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A wholefoods supplier has been able to significantly increase its turnover and employee numbers after completing an invoice financing deal with Yorkshire Bank.

Based in the village of Tockwith, Country Products has been trading for 32 years and has banked with Yorkshire Bank ever since the business was established.

Mark Leather, managing director of Country Products, recognised a gap in the market for high-quality, healthy snacks after returning to the UK from living overseas.  As demand continued to increase for ready-packed & fully compliant wholefoods & alternative snacks, Country Products’ customer base also continued to grow.

The business now purchases imports including nuts and dried fruits in bulk and creates & packs snack mixes to be sold by retailers.  Country Products predominantly supplies to independent traders but its customer base, similarly to its product range, is extensive and includes delicatessens, supermarkets, farm shops, student unions, workplace vending machines, petrol stations and cinemas.

The invoice financing was arranged by Simon Kitchingman, business development manager, and Sarah Clark, relationship manager, both based at Yorkshire Bank’s Business and Private Banking Centre in Harrogate.

Since starting the business, Mark has moved to larger premises five times and has installed four automated production lines.  During this period he says his business relationship with Yorkshire Bank has always been very positive.

Mark said: “Over the last 32 years the Bank has consistently looked after my business and supported my ambitions, helping me in whatever way it could.  During this time I’ve never considered, nor had cause to consider changing my bank.”

Since beginning the invoice financing, Country Products’ turnover has increased by 14 per cent.  Mark has already recruited three new team members in 2015 and has hired 5 overall since the deal began.  According to Mark, the invoice financing has been instrumental in accelerating the business’ growth over the last year.

He said: “I’m fortunate in that during the 32 years Country Products has been up and running, 31 of those have seen growth but it has always been very steady.  The invoice financing has taken a lot of worry out of the logistics and supply chain side of the business – I no longer have to worry about outstanding invoices and inventory build-up – my business and turnover are now growing a lot more rapidly and far more organically.”

Mark expects recruitment investment to continue, with the launch of another production line planned for later this year.  Additionally, Country Products’ new and improved website will soon go live, with a section dedicated to selling directly to workplaces and schools.

Rick Warburton, head of Yorkshire Bank’s Business and Private Banking Centre in York, said: “Country Products is a prime example of an organisation freeing itself up from financial and operational constraints so that it can operate at optimum capacity and unleash its full potential.  The invoice financing has freed Mark up to concentrate less on admin and more upon capitalising on the opportunities available to him.

“As economic conditions continue to improve, Yorkshire Bank remains focused on supporting the growth ambitions of North Yorkshire businesses.”

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Sarah Clark, relationship manager at Yorkshire Bank; Mark Leather, managing director of Country Products and Simon Kitchingman, business development manager, invoice finance at Yorkshire Bank

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