social impact report & annual statement

Cutting edge technology investment due at North Yorkshire family timber firm

A Leeming Bar-based family-run timber business has received a six figure loan to invest in technology and help fulfil growing customer demand.

Fall Timber Ltd, which was founded more than 45 years ago and managed by its second generation owner, Helen Fall and her husband, Matt, received the loan from NPIF – BEF & FFE Microfinance, which is managed by BEF and FFE, and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Supplying timber for national building projects as well as agricultural clients, self-builders and gardeners, Fall Timber moved to its current site in Leeming Bar Industrial Estate during the pandemic, and offers a drive-through warehouse.

Helen, who has a background in operations working for brands such as Rolls Royce, Deloitte and Credit Suisse, said: “The loan from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is going to play a vital role in keeping up with customer demand. The need for timber isn’t going away and with the additional funds, we’re planning on investing in cutting technology to improve productivity, which may require some research and development. Traditional methods of cutting timber are incredibly labour intensive so with the support of technology, we’ll be able to supply customers much quicker.

“We’ll also be launching an ecommerce website so that we can continue to serve our customers efficiently, while giving them the option to browse and pre-purchase our stock prior to pick up or delivery. This will be especially useful for our self-build and gardening customers who are in the midst of projects.”

Fall Timber, which has a team of eleven employees, originally operated from the family farm on the outskirts of Bedale. Of the move, Helen, who took over the business from her father 10 years ago said: “We’d outgrown our operations on the farm, so around three years ago we moved to our current premises. Since then, we’ve been on a journey of growth and overcoming the setbacks the pandemic brought.

“The loan came at a great time for us and the process was so simple. We’re excited to bring these plans to life this year and give the business space to develop. Both Matt and I had vastly different careers to the world of timber before this, but it feels important to my family heritage to keep the craft going. There are few independent timber merchants left and we love being able to offer our customers the best service and product.”

Lee Vickers, investment manager at BEF, commented: “With its longstanding history, Fall Timber already has a successful model as a timber merchant. Helen and Matt have great aptitude for the business and using the loan to invest in technology to improve efficiency and keep up with customer demand will help them compete with larger companies while remaining true to their roots. We’re looking forward to seeing what the rest of this year has in store for them.”

Keira Shepperson, Director at the British Business Bank said: “It is heartening to see a family-run business investing in cutting-edge technology to meet the growing demands of their customers, and to expand their business in a sustainable way.”

“The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund recognises the vital role that small businesses play in the UK economy, and we are committed to supporting them to reach their growth ambitions. By providing access to finance and investment, businesses like Fall Timber Ltd have the springboard to expand, innovate and create new opportunities.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project (NPIF) is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

Related Posts

Enjoyed this post? Keep reading with more posts from our BEF North East category.