Scotland’s newest importer of rock salt, Salt and Grit Solutions, has secured funding of £500,000 from Clydesdale Bank allowing the company to expand its workforce and import 25,000 tonnes of rock salt in preparation for winter.
Salt and Grit Solutions, based at Glasgow’s King George V Dock, was established in the wake of the severe winter of 2009/2010 by husband and wife team James and Angela Smith after they returned to Scotland following several years of living in Portugal.
James owned a gritting company for 25 years prior to emigrating to Portugal but on the couple’s return to Scotland they decided to use their experience in the gritting industry to start up a business importing grit to fill a gap in the Scottish market.
In its first year Salt and Grit Solutions imported 10,000 tonnes of rock salt and grit from countries including Chile, Ireland, Israel and Portugal but this year with the support and funding provided by Clydesdale Bank’s Glasgow Financial Solutions Centre (FSC) the company will bring in more than 25,000 tonnes.
Customers of Salt and Grit Solutions include high street retailers, supermarkets, garden centres, wholesalers, gritting companies and large corporates eager to avoid experiencing the disruption caused by last winter’s shortfall in grit supplies.
A portion of the £500,000 of funding provided to Salt and Grit Solutions through Clydesdale Bank’s Investing for Growth strategy, which helps successful businesses grow, will be used to increase the company’s workforce.
The company plans to take on two new permanent members of staff immediately to handle customer demand and anticipate hiring a further four members of staff should the severe weather of last winter return this year.
Angela Smith, Director of Salt and Grit Solutions, said: “We set this business up as a direct consequence of requests from contacts and friends who were tired of being unable to source enough grit during the winter months.
“Apart from Salt and Grit Solutions there really is only one other major importer in Scotland and it is obliged to fulfil its obligations to provide grit for local authorities which often means other customers are left with nothing.
“We wanted to prevent that happening and this year, thanks to the support we’ve received from Clydesdale Bank, we will be in a better position than ever to help Scottish businesses ensure they are prepared for severe icy conditions.”
Even if the record breaking temperatures and harsh conditions of the last two winters do not return this year there will still be demand for grit. On average, there are 70 nights a year in Scotland where gritting activity takes place.
Robert Gibson, Managing Partner at Clydesdale Bank’s Glasgow FSC, said: “We are always keen to support businesses which have identified a gap in the market which presents the opportunity for growth, and Salt and Grit Solutions certainly did that.
“The product they offer is one which we were crying out for more of in Scotland last year but it was also the way in which they conduct their business which attracted us to provide funding to support their ongoing expansion plans."
Clydesdale Bank launched its business support initiative – Investing for Growth – to help successful businesses grow and develop. The support package offers both new and existing business customers a dedicated planning service and a more flexible approach to lending.
Loan repayment holidays, interest-only repayments and extended loan and credit facilities are just some of the flexible support options available under the Investing for Growth initiative which also includes a dedicated financial planning service.