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We were looking at investing in new machinery which would enable us to expand our client base, and our accountant mentioned the County Durham Growth Fund to us.

Lisa Mounter

General Manager

A FAMILY run pallet manufacturing firm has hailed the importance of a grant support fund for helping it bounce back after the coronavirus pandemic.

TO Mounter, based in Willington, can trace its roots back to the 1970s, when it was founded by Thompson Oliver Mounter from the back of the Brown Trout pub.

Once established, the business relocated to its current premises, moving into an old mining office with two buildings for production.

Passed down through the generations, the business is now owned and directed by sons Alan, John, Stan and Harry, alongside the help of their sons and daughter; Kevin, John Jnr, Lisa, Keith and Paul.

In total 34 people are employed by the business, 11 of whom are from the Mounter family.

General Manager Lisa said: “We were looking at investing in new machinery which would enable us to expand our client base, and our accountant mentioned the County Durham Growth Fund to us.

“As a business we’ve never really applied for loans or funding but after the challenges that Covid presented, when we had to furlough staff, we thought it was worth looking into.

“We applied and were successful, with the grant contributing towards our investment into a new Stenner three head MHS9 feather edge timber machine.”

TO Mounter supplies timber pallets to companies within the manufacturing sectors and occasionally, to members of the public looking to do DIY work at home.

Craig (one of the fourth generation of Mounter’s to work in the business) added: “The investment in the new machine has been invaluable to our business – it kept our staff in work following the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is now enabling us to break into new markets as both a fencing supplier and pallet supplier. The  MHS9  enables us to produce four pieces of feather edge timber per pass.”

The County Durham Growth Fund is managed by Business Durham in partnership with UMi and is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). All successful grant applications are appraised by UNW LLP, an independent firm of chartered accountants and business advisers.

Sarah Slaven, Managing Director at Business Durham, said: “TO Mounter is a family business with its roots in County Durham dating back to the 1970s.

“Now employing 34 people, it’s excellent to hear that the grant support they’ve had from the County Durham Growth Fund has safeguarded jobs when, because of the pandemic, they might have had to lose staff.”

Simon Allen, Investment Centre Director at UMi, said: “Thanks to the grant secured, TO Mounter is now looking to a more positive future with the potential of breaking into new markets and continued growth.”

John Healey, Corporate Finance Partner at UNW LLP, said: “The County Durham Growth Fund was created to support businesses like TO Mounter, which are keen to invest in new machinery to cement their long-term future in the county.”

Family run business invests in machinery thanks to grant support

Family run business invests in machinery thanks to grant support

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