Article Image

Ninth Year of Principal Doorsets

Currently approaching (August) their ninth year of trading, with production growing year on year and more than 400 years’ experience and expertise as a team in making doorsets, just what is the magic behind Principal Doorsets? Door manufacturing in North Devon dates back to the mid-1800s so in 2014 when their employer planned to relocate production outside of the area, Rob Llewellyn and Stan Bond had other ideas to keep the heritage of door making going in the region.

“We felt really strongly that North Devon was the home of doorset manufacturing,’ explains Director and Founder, Stan Bond. “When we were met with the proposition of relocating out of the area, Rob and I both felt this was not a viable proposition that we wished to commit to. We met to discuss the circumstances and felt that we could do better and that we should try. Having previously put a model together for maintaining a manufacturing operation in North Devon – which had been declined by our employers – we were confident we had a format to work with.”

Having worked in the industry for 54 years combined, Rob and Stan were confident they had the formula to create something special which would not only keep the heritage of doorset manufacturing in North Devon but maintain employment for many of the skilled and experienced workforce.

“Our business plan was solid and, with support from local banks and accountants, we quickly secured our first manufacturing building in Bideford, North Devon,” continues Managing Director and Founder, Rob Llewellyn. “We began the manufacturing operation ranging from fire doors to postform doorsets. We developed a wide range of products, established business systems and standards, via third-party accreditation and our first orders were shipped early in 2015”.

Robert Llewellyn - Co Founder

Stan and Rob have built Principal Doorsets from the initial 15 members of staff, to today employing a workforce of more than 60 people. In 2018, following consistent growth, their premises were too small and so they took an ambitious move to a 3.75 acre site on Pottington Business Park, Barnstaple where they are continually developing their product range to meet the growing needs of the market and their customers.

“Our ambition has always been to be the best in quality, service and communication for our customers and partners,” says Stan. “In building the business and our team in line with this ambition we have secured incredible partnerships with customers, generating revenue that’s enabled us to invest in processes, staff and products.”

“North Devon has such a rich history in door manufacturing, with the craft being passed down through generations, and we want to keep it that way,” adds Rob. “We are committed to the continuous development of our people, machinery, knowledge, and practices. Our development in fire, enhanced security and integrated doorsets have enabled us to successfully certify and add doorsets to our portfolio that others were not able to certificate; we are so proud of that.”

So what’s next for the growing business? “Moving forward we are increasing our capacity to manufacture product suited for health, leisure and education,” says Stan. “We are installing new machines, processes and changing layouts to increase our production.”

“When we purchased the Pottington Site back in 2017, our plans were to improve the facilities. We are looking to reroof, add solar (electricity generation) along with creating a new loading compound at the rear or our site, amongst other improvements”, concludes Rob “We are excited to achieve the results that these developments will offer”.

Stan Bond - Co Founder