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Dealer keen to avoid confusion with defunct counterpart

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A catering equipment distributor whose name is similar to one that was once used by a dealer currently in liquidation has stressed that there is absolutely no connection between the two businesses.

Total Catering Equipment in Colchester is keen to avoid any confusion between its business and that of Academy Catering, which went into liquidation last week. Academy had previously traded as Total Catering Limited for four years before changing its name in 2010.

Coincidentally, Total Catering Equipment was also set up in 2006 and, like Brentwood-based Academy, is located in Essex. But that’s as far as any correlation goes, said the company’s owner and managing director Andy Mumford.

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“Total Catering Equipment in Colchester is not connected or to be confused with Academy,” he said. “I know of the two guys who owned the business and it is very sad to lose anyone to liquidation.”

While Academy’s plight has again highlighted the challenges facing the distributor market, 2013 has, conversely, proved to be something of a bumper year for Mumford’s company so far.

“We are currently 40% up over last year and expanding quickly — we recently took on two new members of staff, bringing our headcount to nine,” he said. “We keep pretty close to home, covering north Essex and south Suffolk. We do a small amount of national business, but I feel our key to survival and growth has been managing our costs, keeping overheads down and not spreading our distribution too far.”

Mumford added that the company’s diversity had also helped the business to thrive. It offers everything from individual chemicals and janitorial products to full kitchen fit-outs.

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Andrew Seymour

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