This article was published on September 12, 2019
A local family-run company that has supplied the North of England with timber windows and doors since 1979 is celebrating its 40th birthday.
ERW have been based in the town for four decades. Since 1990, the company has been owned and run by Lawrence Wall and his wife Julie.
Lawrence is part of the fabric of ERW having originally worked as Sales Manager before purchasing the company when the previous owners were looking to sell, placing Lawrence’s job and those of his colleagues under threat.
This year – the company’s milestone 40th in business – is also Lawrence’s last. He’ll step down, handing over the reins to his children.
Originally based at Bolckow Road Industrial Estate in Grangetown, the company opened its first showroom on Eston High Street in 1986, before moving to Renovation House in 1988 – the Skippers Lane premises which remains the company’s home today.
During that time, headcount has grown from seven to 33 and many staff have grown with the company. This includes Lawrence’s and Julie’s children Phillip, Helen and Stuart who, along with fellow senior leaders Kirsty Semark and Phil Tye, will take over the running of the business, when their father steps down later this year.
Lawrence said: “We’re proud to have reached the 40-year milestone and to have done it as a family.
“We’ve been employing local people and nurturing new apprentices since 1979 and have staff that have been with us for over two decades.
“I put that down to being a family run business and having a tightly knit, loyal team that understand the ethos of hard work, dedication and professionalism.
“Looking back, I think that’s my biggest achievement. And I know that when I move away, the company will carry on those family values,” he added.
ERW is regarded as one of the north’s leading providers of bespoke timber windows and doors having worked on many local prestige buildings including Hartlepool former Post Office, Stewarts Park, Rockliffe Hall, Norton Hall and Wilton Castle as well as many other historic buildings throughout the North East.
Last year, the team worked on the restoration of Auckland Castle, one of the most historically important buildings in the region.
This helped make 2018 ERW’s most successful year to date, with a turnover of over £2 million – 37 per cent up on the previous year. Increased demand for their products has also seen the company employ two new members of staff, with plans to recruit two more by the end of 2019.
Commercial Manager Phillip Wall says the company’s growth is down to the team’s drive to get better.
“The biggest change in the business over the years is the quality of our products and services,” he said.
“The company is where it is today because we never rest on our laurels. We continually invest in research and development so that we’re ahead of the curve in manufacturing and maintain relationships with the best local suppliers so that our customers receive market-leading products.”
ERW has always believed strongly in investing locally. It’s long list of suppliers includes Middlesbrough-based ATF Supplies, York glass supplier Twinseal and Ernest Bennetts of Darlington.
“Teesside has some of the best hardware, timber and machine suppliers in the UK so we’ve never had a need to look elsewhere,” said Phillip. “It also means we’re putting money back into the local economy. It’s important that businesses support each other in that way, especially in a challenging economic climate.”
Reaching 40 years in business is a huge achievement and the company hopes to continue its success with the new generation of Walls at the helm.
“We’d like to thank all of our customers and staff and suppliers, both past and present,” said Lawrence.
“ERW would never have reached this birthday without the loyalty of our customers, the quality of our suppliers or the dedication of the workforce.
“With all the work the senior leadership team are doing to build on the last 40 years and push the company forward, I step aside knowing the future’s looking bright.”
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The standard of quality of the work done is so good that I can only use one word to crown it – PERFECT! My wife and I hope you will continue to provide such an exemplary piece of work which will no doubt earn you more customers. We are happy to recommend you to everyone we know.
Dr S, Darlington
The work of installing our double glazed units has finished and my wife and I want to tell you what a pleasure it was to have the installers working on that job. They had humour, application, care, consideration and skill and we much enjoyed their time with us. We have thanked them but felt it was important for you to know how grateful we are.
Mr & Mrs W, Eaglescliffe
Our whole experience with ERW joiners has been absolutely first class. Our first meeting was a showroom appointment with Stuart Wall, I personally loved the showroom straightaway, the colours of the sample doors blew me away.
To the skilled craftsmen of joiners who made our front door, who we have not met, but who we will forever be grateful too – their craftsmanship is beyond compare – thank you so very much.
I was delighted with the installation process. Steve and Tony worked very hard and took a lot of care around our house. My husband thought we would end up having to redecorate but was amazed that the windows looked like they had always been there. We are delighted and have had a number of positive comments about them. Thank you.
Mr & Mrs C, South Gosforth
We're not able to carry out installations in your postcode area, however, we can still design and create your door, and you can liaise with a local fitter in your area to install it.