146-year-old glazing business invests in young people to help it realise 20% growth projections

Lewis Roden, 4th generation owner of Mitchell Glass

ONE of Scotland’s oldest glazing businesses is looking to capitalise on the strongest order pipeline in its 146-year history by investing in the talent of the future.

Mitchell Glass, which is located on Currie Road in Galashiels, is expecting 20% growth over the next twelve months as it attempts to fulfil projects that were stalled due to Covid-19 restrictions preventing its installers from working in residential properties.

Led by 4th generation owner Lewis Roden, the company has turned to youth to help it meet pent-up demand and to achieve long-term sustainability, taking on four apprentices and developing a new personal development programme that allows everyone in the business to build new skills and have clear progression routes.

It is one element of an overall strategy that has seen the firm achieve the Gold Investors in Young People standard for the first time, coming a few weeks after it was re-accredited as a Silver Investor in People.

“Our reputation for excellent customer service is down to the people we employ and the culture we try to instil into staff the minute they start with us,” explained Lewis, who joined the business in 1999 when he was just 16-years’ old.

“The two IiP Awards highlight that our approach to developing people and our young workers is on point and having the desired results in helping us attract and retain staff, importantly making sure individuals have the freedom to be creative and add value to the way we do things.”

He continued: “Investing in apprentices is a big part of our recruitment plans and we currently have a mixture of young and mature learners across administration, sales and in our installation teams.

“Growing your own tends to breed quality and also gives the chance for older, more experienced employees to pass down their knowledge to the next generation, meaning our succession planning is always in place.”

Mitchell Glass, which became the first Scottish retailer to join the Conservatory Outlet network in 2011, provides one of the largest ranges of conservatory, orangery, double glazing windows and doors in Edinburgh, The Lothians and The Scottish Borders.

Its 27-strong workforce are working around the clock to fulfil over four months of backlogged home improvement projects due to the Scottish lockdown, with significant demand for its aluminium products and bi-fold doors that are being fitted at Grand Design projects across the country.

Lewis, who took the reins from his father and mother Peter and Susan Roden, went on to add: “Covid-19 has presented some of the biggest challenges in our history and we’re still battling against supply chain disruption…however, we do have the people in place to catch-up with the backlog and start planning for a post-lockdown future.

“We’re currently in the process of updating our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and the other short-term plan is to invest in a significant modernisation project for our showroom.

“It’s all about improving the customer experience when they visit us and giving them an environment where they can browse our products and enjoy chatting with our experts on how we can bring their designs to life.”

Greg Kane, Chief Executive Officer of the Conservatory Outlet, concluded: “Mitchell Glass is a respected figure in the Scottish home improvement market, and we are fully behind Lewis and his team’s dedication to their staff and especially in supporting new talent to come into our sector.

“Covid-19 and the different restrictions Scottish companies were forced to operate under were massive hurdles, but there is no doubt in my mind, that the strength of the people has helped it come through lockdown and emerge an even stronger business than before.”

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