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Lochaber firm expansion set to create more jobs

Published: 10/02/2020

Ambitious plans by a Lochaber firm, undergoing a £268,000 expansion, are expected to create three new jobs in Fort William and increase the company’s annual turnover by more than 80%.

An industrial iron is helping McKleeners increase productivity and quality. Credit Robert Mason

Commercial laundry firm, MacKleeners, has installed a new industrial iron to increase capacity, productivity and service quality.

Aiming to be a leader in environmental practice, the company has also installed a new laundry specific recycling system, enabling around a third of consumed water to be recycled back into the main wash cycle.

This environmental commitment has also seen the installation of a £45,000 contracted soap dispensing system allowing the use of fully biodegradable, non-biological chemicals which curtail water usage by a further 25%.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) alongside The Highland Council’s Business Gateway and Highland Opportunity loan fund, worked collaboratively with the business to secure a package of financial support for the upgrade.

Elaine Jones, business development account manager at HIE in Lochaber, said:

“MacKleeners is an important part of the supply chain for the growing tourism, food and drink and manufacturing sectors, not just in Lochaber but further afield. The firm has grown steadily over the years, providing valuable services and local employment. There is now a real opportunity to unlock further growth potential and increase the company’s customer base and create more jobs. This is a very welcome move by the firm and we are delighted to be able to provide support, along with Business Gateway and Highland Opportunity.”

Robin Jackson, investment manager of The Highland Council and of Highland Opportunity (Investments) Ltd commented:

“THC is pleased to see the success to date of Mackleeners and that our support of both finance and advice and guidance through Business Gateway is helping to cement the company within the community and support their growth plans.  THC and Business Gateway Highland looks forward to continuing to work with Mackleeners and HIE over many years to come.”

Business owner, Robert Mason, said:

“We are very proud of our company’s track record of growth over the years. This is in no small part down to the hard work of our employees, some of whom have been with the company for over 10 years, and the loyalty of our customers. It is great to have secured support from HIE, Highland Opportunity (Investments) Ltd and Business Gateway Highland, which is enabling us to take things to the next stage. We look forward to increasing our contribution to the local economy and providing more employment opportunities. We have also managed to reduce our carbon foot print by nearly 40% with the installation of new machinery and by the use of specialised laundry chemicals.”

MacKleeners was taken over by Robert's parent's in 1991 as a small coin operated laundrette on Fort William High Street, before expanding into the commercial sector with pressing equipment. In the mid 90's the firm moved to Ben Nevis Industrial Estate. In 2010 Robert Mason took over the family business from his parents and in 2017 purchased a unit at Annat Point Industrial Estate from HIE to accommodate the existing workload and anticipated growth.

The company mainly provides a commercial washing, drying and ironing of linen and towel service for guest houses, hotels and self-catering properties alongside a domestic Laundrette. It also handles PPE for industrial firms such as Marine Harvest, BSW and Liberty Aluminium.

MacKleeners operates predominately in Lochaber but also across the West Coast and the Highlands.

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