Harrison Spinks acquires former Leeds City College site

Harrison Spinks managing director Simon Spinks
Harrison Spinks managing director Simon Spinks
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Bed manufacturer Harrison Spinks has acquired a former Leeds City College site in a deal worth £1.5m, The Yorkshire Post can reveal.

The firm, which dates back to 1840, plans to use the 60,000 sq ft site on Westland Road in Leeds to expand its existing production facilities. Its total estate now encompasses 320,000 sq ft.

It comes as the £36m-turnover business continues to bring its materials and component production in-house and diversifies into other comfort products.

The additional facilities will allow Harrison Spinks to expand its current workforce of around 460 by another 20 per cent.

Managing director Simon Spinks said the manufacturer acts wherever possible to secure its future at its current site, close to Leeds City Centre.

He said: “We don’t want to move because of the people and the skills base we’ve got.

“As a result, when property becomes available, we feel we need to get it so the opportunity is there to expand.”

The former college site will become home to the firm’s fabric weaving operations, as well as its growing upholstery business and its development division.

Harrison Spinks sells mattresses in the UK and abroad under three brands - Harrison, Somnus and Spink & Edgar - as well as producing own-brand beds for John Lewis and Feather & Black.

It has recently launched a cot mattress collection called Natural Start, and also produces cot mattresses for Silver Cross, The White Company and Boori.

The business also operates joint ventures in the US for the production of its branded beds.

While sales demand has driven some of the firm’s growth - it saw a 14 per cent rise in revenue last financial year - its rate of expansion has been boosted from vertically aligning its operations.

Mr Spinks said: “We design and build technology and then build the machines to make that technology.

“We draw wire, we weave fabric. We make our own springs, then we make the mattresses and deliver them on our own vehicles.”

Development and innovation are central to the business, Mr Spinks said.

The firm’s components business, which sells patented spring technology worldwide for use in everything from car seats to shoes, is up 300 per cent year-on-year. Investment in intellectual property and patents is a core focus for the group.

The firm - which won two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in innovation and sustainability in 2013 - is also increasingly producing its own natural filling materials.

It has a 300-acre farm called Hornington Manor, based near Bolton Percy in North Yorkshire, which it aims to increase in size dramatically.

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Sustainability is a key focus for Harrison Spinks - so much so that it produces its own natural fibres at its North Yorkshire farm.

The 300-acre site, based 18 miles away from its Leeds factory, produces around a third of the natural fibres used for filling.

The company farms sheep for wool, as well as producing hemp and flax crops at the farm.

There are plans to dramatically increase the capacity of the farm.

Mr Spinks said: “North of 50 per cent of the fibre fillings in our mattresses are locally sourced.

“We’re going to quadruple our capacity to grow even more of it. It would be nice to get to around 70 per cent locally sourced.”

The 11-bed farmhouse has also proved a hit with would-be couples, with the venue booked up months in advance.