Clear focus through the storm
FEW businesses have felt the devastating impact of the recession as much as the region's caravan industry.
Locally, the industry was one of the first to illustrate the impact of the recession and this year's proposed tax hike fuelled uncertainty in a market still struggling to recover from the downturn of 2008.
Despite the gloomy outlook, Arronbrook Leisure Homes off Hedon Road has demonstrated a strong performance – even at the height of the downturn.
And its success is largely due to a clear focus on exports, with about 75 per cent of Arronbrook's products now going overseas.
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Arronbrook's main export market is Europe, particularly Holland, Belgium and Norway.
Its remaining products are sold throughout the UK and Ireland.
Director Paul Coombs said: "We do particularly well exporting because the fit and finish of our caravans is considered to be first-rate.
"We work with our continental dealers, which specify their requirements.
"We've done very well considering the financial situation in Europe and across the globe, and we are in a strong position to continue manufacturing for the home and export market."
Compared to the "big boys" of the industry, the company is a relatively small manufacturer of static caravans.
This makes it a nimble enough to quickly and easily adapt to customer requirements, which in turns gives it strength.
As a result, it has grown its order book at a time when other firms are shedding staff and calling in the administrators.
This year, Arronbrook celebrates 25 successful years of manufacturing in east Hull and exports have been a key focus for the firm ever since it was launched by businessman Ron Kerr in 1987.
Ron's initial interest was in Continental Europe.
However Arronbrook's ability to create bespoke caravans which are designed to each client's own specifications quickly strengthened its reputation closer to home.
And, unlike many manufacturers which rely on a production line to keep products flying out of the factory doors, Arronbrook creates each model from scratch with teams of individuals working together on each product.
Mr Coombs said: "The export market is steadily increasing. Norway, for example, is a very conservative nation in terms of their spending habits but because we have shown our products are of such high quality, we're finding our orders are building there."