A Deeside company that uses aviation technology to build zero-maintenance garden rooms has announced major expansion plans.
John Lyon, the boss of Rubicon Garden Rooms in Queensferry, told civic leaders he is aiming to build a network of franchises across the UK.
Mr Lyon revealed his plans to Flintshire County Council chairman Councillor Ray Hughes and Councillor Derek Butler, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, during a visit to Rubicon’s factory.
Rubicon, named as the Most Enterprising Business at the authority’s 2015 Flintshire Business Awards, makes bespoke top-of-the-range units that can be used for everything from home offices to art or music rooms, yoga studios, teenage dens and annexes for dependent relatives.
Its zero-maintenance modular buildings are manufactured at its factory in Queensferry and quickly installed, usually without the need for planning permission.
They are made from a wood fibre composite material devised by founder John Lyon, who was inspired by his 20 years as an engineer at Airbus.
Councillor Hughes, who represents Leeswood, said: “It’s fantastic to see a forward-thinking company such as Rubicon doing well here in Flintshire.
“Rubicon is a credit to Flintshire Enterprise Zone. Smaller companies sometimes don’t get the recognition they deserve but companies such as this are putting a great deal into the local economy, using local labour and a local supply chain.
“I really look forward to seeing Rubicon develop and grow.”
Cllr Butler said he was impressed with what he saw at Rubicon Garden Rooms and praised John Lyon for his approach to business.
He said: “Rubicon is an excellent company using fresh and innovative ideas to build a bespoke product using local employment and the company complements the business offer here in Flintshire. I am sure the company will continue to be successful in the future.”
He added: “We need small and medium sized enterprises like Rubicon just as much as we need the really big employers. People in employment are happier, healthier and more likely to succeed.”
Rubicon managing director John Lyon told the councillors that the company, which currently operates within a 50 mile radius of its base at Deeside Enterprise Centre, will eventually be expanded into a nationwide business through a network of franchises.
He said: “We do have long-term plans that will see us grow and develop but not until we are absolutely sure the time is right.
“Currently, because we are so local to Deeside, we are able to ensure we can deal with any construction or assembly issues with our product.
“Almost every garden room we build is bespoke and built to a customer’s individual requirements. We don’t want to expand too quickly and take on too much debt which could hinder our future growth.
“My five-year plan is to refine our product and then open it up to franchises across the UK. Initially we will try just one trusted franchisee, someone we know well and trust, maybe on the Wirral.
“That means we can iron out any issues or problems we encounter with regard to the construction of our niche product without having to travel to the other end of the UK to sort out any construction issues.
“Once we are happy the franchise model will work we will begin offering franchises across the UK. However, the kits will always be manufactured here on Deeside.”
And John told the councillors he had increased the Rubicon workforce to 10 employees and was expecting to increase that number in the weeks and months ahead.
He said: “I’m always looking for people with a range of skills. I need people who can multi task and can work confidently in a number of areas.
“In two years we have taken on 10 employees. That’s perhaps 10 mortgages we are helping to pay. We know we have the potential to grow and we want to grow but we will only do so at the right speed.”
He added: “I’m really pleased to have been able to welcome Cllr’s Butler and Hughes to Rubicon Garden Rooms and to show them what we are trying to achieve.
“It has to be really encouraging that the Chair of the Council and a Cabinet Member are prepared to take the time to visit us and take an interest in our future economic development.
“I think they can see we are trying to grow but grow at the right speed.”
The 2015 Flintshire Business Awards Most Enterprising Business category was sponsored by Edge Transport.
For more information about Rubicon Garden Rooms visit www.rubicongardenrooms.co.uk