WINDOWS firm Pennine is creating 30 jobs on the back of a £500,000 investment in the brand by parent company Crownfold.
Its Benton window and conservatory show village will more than double in size to become the biggest in the region, and Pennine is increasing the number of sites it operates from.
That includes rebuilding its showroom sites at Dobbies garden centres in Ponteland and Birtley, Peter Barratt’s in Gosforth and Heighleygate near Morpeth. The brand is also represented at six Homebase stores around the North East. Sales and marketing director Mel Gess, who has been with Pennine for more than 20 years, said: “We have expanded from six to 10 sites, most recently to Dobbies at Birtley and Sanderson’s Arcade in Morpeth.”
He said the investment in the new sites meant the brand needed additional staff, starting from sales and marketing, through to demonstrators, installers and managers.
Parent group Crownfold has two other window brands but its marketing efforts are now being concentrated on Pennine.
Gess said: “The Crownfold group also owns Budget and Paramount but we realised that Pennine was the most successful and the most recognised.
“That seemed to be what the people of the North East want, so we have decided to put our time and energy into marketing Pennine.”
As part of this, Pennine will be advertised on TV and a new solar energy division is being set up to provide solar panels and thermo-dynamics. Currently, solar is around 15% of Pennine’s work.
Gess said: “It’s going to become very important with the Government’s Green Deal. Renewable energy is so important these days. There are going to be a lot more opportunities for expansion in that division.”
In addition to solar, the company has also developed new conservatories, orangeries and sun rooms, timber and direct-fix aluminium windows and door ranges.
Gess said: “Unlike many other companies in the home improvement sector, we have worked our way through the recession by being pro-active and growing the business, we believe, because of the portfolio of products and excellent services that we offer.
“They are certainly challenging times. But people are not moving so they are tending to improve and they are looking at the quality end of the market.
“There isn’t the competition there was, we’ve got some good people on board and it’s looking very promising at the moment.
“We are going to invest and reach more people in North East than we have done.”