A manufacturing company in Fort William is set to double its production capacity, significantly increase turnover and create new jobs.
The Highland Soap Company (HSC) has secured a £51,400 investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) towards £205,600 expansion project.
The HIE funding will contribute towards building costs, the purchase and installation of new machinery, and professional fees associated with a new manufacturing facility.
The new facility will be a 12,000 sq ft warehouse, four times the size of the company’s current workshop, and located in Fort William.
In the next three to six years, the project will create six full time equivalent jobs and lead to a £1.9m increase in company turnover, more than £700,000 of which will come from international sales.
The Highland Soap Co Ltd was founded by Emma Parton in 2003, one of its three directors.
It manufactures skincare products with an emphasis on organic, wild-harvested and natural ingredients.
The business has seen steady growth over the years, developing into a well-known local brand, benefitting from growing interest in natural and organic products as well as increasing tourism.
It now has six stores and a thriving online business.
The company sells through 300 gift shops and 4,000 hotel rooms and exports to USA, Asia and the EU.
The use of organic ingredients and sustainable packaging, as well as a vibrant local tourism industry, has resulted in strong demand for HSC products.
More space and more advanced machinery will cut the firm’s production costs, increase capacity and allow a wider range of products to be manufactured.
The expansion project will help retain and protect a key manufacturing and tourism business in Lochaber.
Eilidh Cameron, head of business growth with HIE’s Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross team, said:
“The Highland Soap Company is a really important local employer of manufacturing jobs in Fort William.
“The company has grown steadily over the past 20 years and has both the ambition and clear potential to continue that growth.
“The increase in manufacturing capacity is a huge boost for the local economy and will provide great opportunities to retain young people in Lochaber and sustain community resilience.
“I am very pleased we have been able to provide support for this latest expansion and look forward to continuing to work with the company as the project develops.”
Archie MacDonald, director of The Highland Soap Company said:
“We are very grateful for the support from HIE to help us bring in such state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment and for helping us fit-out our new facility.
“Thanks to this shared investment we expect to be able continue our rate of growth in the decade ahead, opening new shops and growing our wholesale and exports business.”