Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Swim against the Current to Reap the Rewards

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Swim against the Current to Reap the Rewards

Article excerpt

THE past five years have inevitably been a tough time for many manufacturers, but not all. During the harshest of economic times one North East company has achieved great success, more than doubling their turnover and expanding internationally, explains EY Director, Simon Whiteside.

In the face of adverse economic conditions, the Beni family made a bold decision to invest in their business, Prima Cheese, for long-term growth. A brave, some may argue risky decision, given the enormity of the financial crisis. But the family had utter confidence in their product, their staff and each other - this was the right time for the business to take off.

Based in the coastal town of Seaham, Prima shreds and blends cheese providing high-quality pizza cheese for the UK and overseas markets. Originally started by husband and wife team, Behroz Beni and Essmat Ansari Beni, their son Nima and daughter Nagma are now both directors who have helped this truly family business drive signifi-cant growth.

Five years ago the business transformed itself, investing in new machinery and equipment, a new delivery fleet, training and staff development and improving onsite facilities. With banks battening down the hatches, the family drew on personal finance to make the necessary changes to kick-start expansion.

"I'm a firm believer in the motto 'sink or swim' and this was our chance to swim," said Nagma Ebanks-Beni, commercial director at Prima. "The investment sparked a new wave of confi-dence throughout the business, which we capitalised on. It gave us the gravitas to re-attack the market as a well-established business."

Simon Whiteside, >director at EY " The company found itself winning clients they had only dreamed of working with. Customer service was at the forefront of their minds - they listened to their needs and satisfied them in super-fast time

"That's the advantage of a family business; fast turnaround on decisions. I can speak to a customer on Monday morning, who has requested a product adaptation, two days later it has been delivered to them," said Nagma.

By the end of 2010 Prima had a firm foothold in the UK market with a strong reputation for quality. …

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