Composite Doors Cardiff, a local business specialising in secure windows and doors, has managed to find positives in a challenging year, securing a new premises and adding another award to their mantelpiece, this time a Welsh Enterprise Award.
2020 has not been without its challenges for Composite Doors Cardiff though, with the company having to make plenty of changes in the way they conducted business due to the Coronavirus pandemic, whose effects Managing Director, Rob Renée, experienced first hand. He told Bro Radio:
"Coronavirus has obviously brought its challenges to everybody this year. At the start of March, the country started to panic buy toilet rolls and hand sanitiser – not windows and doors.
"We weren’t allowed to install any orders and customers stopped placing orders. Suppliers didn’t stop asking for bills to be paid though, so it was the most worrying time I’ve experienced, both as a husband & father, and business owner.
"To top this off I caught the virus at the end of May and was quite unwell, passing out regularly from coughing and breaking several ribs at the same time. Now I’m left suffering several ongoing effects thanks to Long Covid, but things could have been much worse of course."
Fortunately, at around the midpoint of the year, things started to look up for Rob and his crew as they managed to turn, what could have been, a near-insurmountable challenge into an opportunity for growth. Rob explained:
"Since June business has been booming, the busiest we’ve ever been and we’re booked up into April 2021 now because of it. It’s a good problem to have, but sadly not all businesses have seen this year through. One of our suppliers, whose warehouse we have used for the last few years, stopped trading and we lost our warehouse with very little notice.
"Originally this was seen as a massive problem to overcome, as we had orders that could not be delivered or therefore installed, but it soon became considered a forced opportunity to expand. So, we’ve now moved into new premises in Barry where we have our own warehouse and offices to better serve our customers."
The new warehouse has not been the only boon in a difficult year, with the company also recently picking up a Welsh Enterprise Award. Rob told Bro Radio how this came to be:
"Earlier this year, and also in 2019, we won the Build Magazine award for “Best Windows & Doors Suppliers in the Vale of Glamorgan” as well as a Certificate of Excellence for our consistent high scoring reviews. We were told at the start of the year that we had been nominated by SME News for a Welsh Enterprise Award. I didn’t know much about it other than we had received nominations, and I assumed that the award would become void because of the way most of the year had turned out.
"It was a genuine shock when we received the Welsh Enterprise Award for Best Local Window & Door Supplier – Vale of Glamorgan – 2020. It’s an impressive award as well, etched into a nice piece of Welsh slate. The accompanying letter informed me that we had been nominated, voted on, and also tested by several mystery customers – which made sense because we did have a couple of weeks where we experienced some very unusual enquiries!"
The proud company boss went on to tell Bro about how it felt to win the award and what it meant to him and his colleagues:
"It’s always humbling to win any award, but this means a lot because the year has been so difficult. It puts things into perspective when you see so many well-known companies, both in the same industry and outside it, downsizing or closing altogether. It’s just more assurance that we’re doing things well and getting it right.
"There are a lot of delays with manufacturing throughout our entire supply chain, which I know is being felt by others in the same industry, and we are often the brunt of frustration when it comes to explaining to customers that their order could be another few weeks. Hopefully, this award goes to show that we are doing well in a very difficult and testing environment.
"Adding to that, our primary composite door manufacturer (Endurance Doors) has just been awarded 'Best Composite Door Manufacturer' at the National Fenestration Awards, so together we make a great team and will continue to maintain our high standards."
Finally, with a new year just around the corner and hopes of a return to some sort of normality due to imminent roll-out of vaccines for the virus which plagued much of 2020, Bro Radio asked Rob what his hopes for 2021 were:
"At the end of 2020 my primary intentions are to take a couple of days off! Then, in 2021, more of the same really – we’re booked into April already but have just taken on an additional Fitting team, so we can fit more orders in.
"We’re also hoping to be able to open a showroom which will allow us to offer Customers appointments to take a look at the quality of the high-security windows and doors we offer. We’re obviously going to continue to support out local community as best we can, such as continuing to sponsor the Bro Radio Weather, Barry Round Table Santa Sleigh (which we’ve done again this year) and Community Awards.
"We’re also making donations to The Brain Tumour Charity and Children’s Welsh Air Ambulance where we can. We just hope that Covid gives the Nation a bit of a break and a return to some sort of safe normality."