No Early Bath For Leeds Business
Tony Passmore coming clean about his business
It started out in 1965 as a two-man, Beeston-based plumbing business run by Brian & Kathleen Passmore. Fast forward to 2015, and Passmore Group is now a 50-strong home improvement specialist celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Now managed by the founders' sons Tony and Steve, the company has not only survived the recession; it has emerged stronger than ever, with a 2,000 sqft headquarters and showroom in Wortley, 15 more members of staff than before the economic downturn, and at least 10 additional employees set to come on board by the end of 2016. Currently a £5m turnover company, Managing Director Tony also has ambitious plans to grow the business by 75% over the next three years.
Tony knows this won't be straightforward, but not due to lack of customers. "The recession was long and deep, and there was no disputing people were much more careful with their spend," he explains. "However the 'move or improve' mind-set - and the fact that we are seen as a trusted supplier - saw work continually come our way. Homeowners concentrated on making the best of what they had, striving to turn their bathrooms into places of relaxation and sanctuary. This meant our reputation, and our bottom line, continued to grow despite the downturn.
Passmore's first invoice
"So, whilst we will carry on spreading the word about Passmore, it is not our forward order book that worries us. The real challenge, moving forward, will be finding the right people to join the business as we further our expansion. There is a widely recognised skills shortage within the trades sector, which has proven a barrier to growth for many firms."
In a bid to overcome this potential hurdle, Passmore has plans to open an on-site training academy for apprentices and employees - an idea currently in its infancy but earmarked for investment in late 2016.
Tony continues: "Our company has stood the test of time because we are so committed to quality - rather than using subcontractors we have always employed our own multi-disciplined staff with the same ethos as us, so that we can offer a comprehensive turnkey solution and safeguard the standards delivered to customers. The training academy will enable us to protect this business model, whilst nurturing future talent and maintaining the quality of service delivered to customers in a 60 mile radius."
In the more immediate future, a series of events are planned to mark Passmore's half a century milestone. The first is a competition for a West Yorkshire resident/family to win a bespoke new £5,000 bathroom or shower room designed, supplied and installed by Passmore's More Bathrooms brand. Tony explains: "We are renowned amongst our customers for having a big heart; in fact we have contributed more than £13,000 to charitable causes in the last four years alone. And this competition is another way to give something back to the community, in the form of a £100 donation for every year we've been in business."