A NEW future with a new name for a weaving company in Langholm has earned praise from its constituency MSP.
Drove Weavers, recently bought from Lochcarron of Scotland by Ian Maxwell, has looms running again and is now in the process of taking on five apprentices.
Ian Maxwell showed Oliver Mundell around the mill last Friday and spoke about his plans to boost business.
Mr Maxwell told the E&L Advertiser that five employees were in working and four looms were weaving again.
He said; “Next Monday there is a big order coming in so we’ll have another two people in by next Wednesday. It is going well.
He has asked for financial support from South of Scotland Enterprise.
He added: “I’ve done a business plan for them and I look forward to getting help from them.
“Two people applied for apprenticeships off their own bat and we’re interviewing one this week. But we could do with three more; five in total.
“Apprentices are important for the future. We need new blood.”
Ian says he has drawn up a five-year plan.
The first year will be predominantly commission weaving and later they will produce new ranges and bring in some high-end customers.
He said: “There are some serious names. One has a £10 billion turnover and another £60m. They’re top-end customers.
“Linton Tweeds in Carlisle is sending us work; it’s a very good customer.
“A new customer in Glasgow has been in touch and Robbie Trussler has been to see him.”
He added: “It’s going really well and will be a great asset to Langholm.
“As Steven Tweddle said: “If we could weave goodwill, we’d be working an extra shift.” There are a lot of people behind us.”
Mr Mundell said: “Amid all the gloomy news of late, it was a real pleasure to tour the newly-rescued Drove Weavers mill in Langholm to gain greater insight into the high-end and bespoke work in which they plan to specialise.
“I’m sure many in the area will share my admiration of Ian Maxwell and his enthusiastic team for their vision to retain and build on the Muckle Toon’s historic reputation as a producer of quality textiles.
“It seemed fitting that earlier in the day, in my role as shadow rural economy spokesman at Holyrood, I visited an Eskdale hill farm where I learned first-hand current issues being faced by Scottish wool producers.
“Keeping the looms running at Drove Weavers and preserving traditional crafts and jobs provides an exciting narrative for an increasingly discerning market and, most importantly, by recruiting apprentices, Ian will help keep these skills alive in Langholm.
“There will clearly be many challenges ahead during this difficult economic period but Ian hopes build the business and, supported by a flexible workforce, will gradually increase production hours and jobs as the order book grows.
“I’m very keen to encourage South of Scotland Enterprise to back Drove as they work to grow the business and invest in the site. In my view, this is exactly the type of project they should support.”