The move follows a nine-month site development process involving 30 local and national contractors. Stewart hopes it will now be able to show that UK businesses can compete on manufacturing cost and quality with the world’s leading plastics manufacturing groups.
Stewart used a £4m loan from the Cooperative Bank for the move, which is into a former DHL office and warehouse and is on a 15-year lease.
The company employs 70 permanent staff and a further 30 seasonal workers at Banbury, the same size workforce it employed at Croydon. All staff were offered the opportunity to move with the company and retain their jobs.
At 178,000 sq ft, the new site has a larger footprint than Stewart’s old Croydon premises, allowing for improvements and upgraded processes in production, warehousing and transportation.
There are two new rotational moulding machines, while Stewart has also taken delivery of a 35 metre Demag 8 tonne crane. New production processes are automated and incorporate the principles of clean manufacturing. The entire manufacturing area is floored with sealed epoxy to produce a clean manufacturing site.
Stewart group chief executive Richard Butler said: "We are delighted to have completed this move. It means we can invest in world-beating products and manufacturing processes and consolidate our position as a quality UK manufacturer for many years to come. And, as we supply more than 1,600 garden centres, retailers and other customers across the UK, the Banbury location is also ideal for distribution and logistics."
Stewart turned over £13 million in 2010.
Stewart Garden produces grow your own products, watering, pots, propagators and garden accessories and sundries. These are available in more than 1,600 outlets in the UK and Ireland including Homebase and Wilkinsons and garden centres such as Dobbies and Klondyke/Strikes, The Garden Centre Group and 600+ independent garden centres.