Premium quality bird seed manufacturer Johnston & Jeff is flying high with the announcement of a £1m expansion of its factory.
The investment is also helping the family firm mark its 140th anniversary celebrations.
The business, based at Gilberdyke, East Yorkshire, is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of high-quality feed for garden birds, parrots and aviary birds, as well as handcrafted hutches, bird tables and nest boxes.
It can count well-known large chain garden centres among its clients and independent pet shops across the whole of the UK, and is making the investment due to rising demand across all of its key markets.
Johnston & Jeff’s Managing Director, Richard Johnston, said the expansion was the biggest investment the company has made since moving from its original premises in Hull to Gilberdyke in 2002.
The money is funding a new, 12,000sqft warehouse, and a four-fold increase in pallet bays, from 485 to 2,000.
It will also see Johnston & Jeff build new offices on their site at Gateway Business Park, and fund new machinery including two computer-controlled multi-head weighers, a new bagging line, and a palletising robot which loads the sacks on to pallets.
Mr Johnston said: “People love birds, be it pet owners whose passion is keeping aviary birds and parrots, or the people who simply want to attract more wild birds in their garden by feeding them, because of the sheer pleasure of watching them.
“As a result, we’ve seen significant growth in all our key markets and that is what has prompted us to make this investment. We’ve committed to ensuring we can continue to meet the rising demand for bird feed of the highest quality, and expanding our factory and investing in new, state-of-the-art equipment is the best way we can achieve that.”
Johnston & Jeff employ 50 staff who make around 500 tonnes of premium bird food each week, across more than 300 product lines.
Work has already got underway on the new warehouse, and once the project has been completed the business’s output is expected to rise significantly due to extra capacity and the efficiencies the investment will bring.
Mr Johnston added that Johnston & Jeff’s 140th anniversary was a fantastic and timely opportunity to take the business to the next level.
As part of the celebrations, the company has also launched a new, limited edition product called No Mess, No Grow Wild Bird Food, specifically formulated not to germinate when dropped on lawns, beds or borders.
Mr Johnston said: “Johnston & Jeff started life in High Street, Hull in 1880. To be still owned by the same family 140years later and to be celebrating that with an ambitious expansion plan is a very special feeling.
“We cannot wait to share everything we have planned this year.”