Turning Redundancy into Business Success

A former factory worker who used his redundancy payment to start a new business and a new life - Mark Thompson has had his achievements recognised by his franchisor

Mark Thompson was one of hundreds to lose their jobs when the Terry's confectionery factory closed in York. But he turned the situation round to his advantage by using his redundancy payment to invest in his own business. Mark invested in a franchise with Chemex International, Europe's leading supplier of cleaning and hygiene products, and he's never looked back. Now four years on he has been voted Chemex Franchisee of the Year in recognition of his business skills and determination to succeed.

Mark's York-based franchise, which covers a large part of North Yorkshire, has more than doubled its turnover since 2005. He provides expertise in the cleaning and hygiene management systems for local authorities, care homes, hotels, restaurants, schools and colleges. "I was absolutely stunned when they read my name out," he says. "It is such an honour to win this in the face of stiff competition from my colleagues across the UK and Europe."

Chemex Managing Director Melvin Lusty (pictured above, right, awarding Mark his trophy) says: "Mark has showed great skill and determination to build up a successful business in a relatively short period of time. Even in such difficult economic times, he is still increasing his business by 10 per cent a year. Mark found himself in difficult circumstances four years ago but he is a wonderful example of what can be achieved with a can do attitude and the support and guidance from a franchisor like Chemex."

Earlier this year Mark won the company's Franchisee of the Quarter award and he beat off stiff competition from 70 other franchise owners to win the annual award.

"Being made redundant was a terrible blow at the time but since setting up in business I have never looked back," Mark reflects. "Now I'm just concentrating on building the business and keeping all my customers satisfied."

Paul Ushers of York residential care home Hart Rigg Oaks, run by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, says Mark provided exceptional service. "Mark does everything that we need as a supplier and is very professional and methodical. He is easy to approach and always ready to help resolve any issues. Mark would be hard pressed to improve what he does and other suppliers would be hard pressed to maintain the same standards."

Reported by Steve Verrill