Newcastle dealer shifts premises to support expansion

One of the largest catering equipment suppliers in the North East is celebrating its 25th anniversary by setting up shop in bigger premises.

Crosbys, a supplier to the hospitality and catering industry, has moved to Brough Park Way in Newcastle to house its growing team as it marks a quarter of a century of success.

The new unit boasts a spacious 3000 sq ft office, a 3000 sq ft showroom featuring a wide range of stock from specialist brands, and a modern 18,000 sq ft warehouse facility.

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The firm supplies crockery, cutlery, specialist catering equipment, paper and janitorial supplies to more than 2000 customers in the North, including bars, restaurants, schools and hospitals, as well as a series of London restaurants and Michelin establishments across the UK and overseas.

Crosbys also runs a specialised van-based sales service called Chef 7, which takes catering products from the warehouse directly to time-strapped chefs in their kitchens.

Director Roger Crosby said: “We’re very proud of how far we’ve come in 25 years. It’s amazing to look back at our first year’s turnover, which was £70,000. Last year, we achieved £70,000 every week, and this year will see the company exceed £5m.

“We have closely followed the trends in tableware over the years, from the early days of pizza and pasta with checked tablecloths to the minimalist style of Nouvelle cuisine and through to today’s rustic approach with boards and baskets. Now we are also able to offer restaurant design services, so we’re keeping abreast of the latest interior trends too.”

The business has steadily expanded since it was established in 1990 by Crosby, who had owned a chain of china shops before stepping into the catering equipment market.

He supplied crockery from his van to the well-known old eateries in Newcastle — Marco Polo, La Roma and the original site of Cafe 21 — and his client base soon grew to include independent restaurants in Middlesbrough, Darlington, Sunderland and Durham, as well as local authorities.

Sons Roger and Ben joined the business as demand continued to soar with the explosion of local restaurant openings, and the firm soon branched out into sales of cutlery, glassware and light equipment and heavy kitchen kit.

Five years ago, Crosbys joined Caterbar, a national buying group that gave the company access to chemicals, paper and disposable supplies, which now form a major part of the business.

Crosbys has benefitted from funding via the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and is developing its e-commerce website to build on its growing number of overseas customers. Past orders include the supply of cereal dispensers for the Olympic Village, and cocktail glasses for an Antiguan beach bar.

Crosby added: “We started from humble beginnings in a van in the nineties, and we are now fast becoming a one-stop shop for the hospitality industry, offering design, technical build, kitchen fitting and specialist equipment.

“Our strength has always been our ability to listen and adapt to customers’ needs, and we are particularly proud of our longstanding relationships in the North East, and our team of highly committed staff. In fact, our longest-serving member of staff — field sales manager Keiron ONeill — started as a dishwasher within our hire business 16 years ago.”

He added that the firm was now looking to acquire local businesses which complement its offering and add depth to its growing teams in kitchen design and sales.

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