Wholefoods firm enjoys healthy growth with bank support

Tockwith-based wholefoods supplier Country Products has been able to significantly increase its turnover and employee numbers after completing an invoice financing deal with Yorkshire Bank. Pictured: Sarah Clark, relationship manager at Yorkshire Bank; Mark Leather, managing director of Country Products; Simon Kitchingman, business development manager of invoice finance at Yorkshire Bank. (S)
Tockwith-based wholefoods supplier Country Products has been able to significantly increase its turnover and employee numbers after completing an invoice financing deal with Yorkshire Bank. Pictured: Sarah Clark, relationship manager at Yorkshire Bank; Mark Leather, managing director of Country Products; Simon Kitchingman, business development manager of invoice finance at Yorkshire Bank. (S)

A Tockwith-bases wholefoods supplier has been able to significantly increase its turnover and employee numbers after completing an invoice financing deal with Yorkshire Bank.

Country Products was established 32 years ago, when managging director Mark Leather recognised a gap in the market for high-quality, healthy snacks after returning to the UK from living overseas.

As demand continued to increase for ready-packed wholefoods and alternative snacks, Country Products’ customer base also grew. The business now imports in bulk and creates and packs snack mixes to be sold by retailers.

Invoice financing is an arrangement where a third party – in this case Yorkshire Bank – agrees to buy a company’s unpaid invoices for a fee, improving cashflow.

The deal was arranged by Simon Kitchingman, business development manager, and Sarah Clark, relationship manager, both based at Yorkshire Bank’s Business and Private Banking Centre in Harrogate.

Since starting the business, Mr Leather has moved to larger premises five times and has installed four automated production lines, and has always banked with Yorkshire Bank.

Since beginning the invoice financing, Country Products’ turnover has increased by 14 percent, and Mr Leather said it had been instrumental in accelerating the business’ growth over the last year.

He has already recruited three new team members in 2015 and has hired five overall since the deal began. He expects recruitment investment to continue, with the launch of another production line planned for later this year.

“I’m fortunate in that during the 32 years Country Products has been up and running, 31 of those have seen growth but it has always been very steady. The invoice financing has taken a lot of worry out of the logistics and supply chain side of the business,” he said.

“I no longer have to worry about outstanding invoices and inventory build-up – my business and turnover are now growing a lot more rapidly and far more organically.”

Country Products predominantly supplies to independent traders but its customer base includes delicatessens, supermarkets, farm shops, student unions, workplace vending machines, petrol stations and cinemas.