A BIG-HEARTED animal bedding company from Wrexham who gave all its staff a £1,000 Covid bonus is vying for the title of the UK’s best family firm.
Fast-growing Platts Agriculture will be flying the flag for Wales at the Federation of Small Businesses Awards when it will also be in the running for the environment award.
Platts qualified for the UK final after scooping both awards at the Wales heats.
The prestigious Oscars-style ceremony will be held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow on May 19.
Next year the company, based on Llay Industrial Estate, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary.
It was founded in 1973 by now retired Robert Platt and his wife, Christine, and it’s now being run by their daughter, Caroline Platt, the managing director.
Her son, Christopher Whittaker, is a third generation member of the management team.
He has set up a new haulage company, Platts Transport, running alongside another new sister company, Platts Commercial Services, an authorised testing centre for HGVs.
Despite the pandemic, the firm achieved a 6.5 per cent increase in turnover with the number of staff rising from 54 to 62.
At the same time, it implemented a raft of green initiatives to make the operation even more environmentally friendly and championed the mental health and well-being of the workforce.
Loyal members of staff say they are treated by Platts like members of the “extended family”.
Among them are sales executive Dawn Williams, her husband, factory supervisor John Williams, and her stepson, shift supervisor Ryan Williams.
The couple met at Platts 16 years ago and love blossomed when they consoled each other after splitting up from their respective partners.
Dawn said: “It’s absolutely fabulous to be part of an amazing company that’s now winning awards. I’m really happy and proud to work here.
“As far as I’m concerned, Platts is already the best family firm in the UK but it would be lovely to have official confirmation of that.
“It’s a really friendly place to work and we just get on as a team. We get on immensely well with Caroline – she’s a wonderful boss and Chris is absolutely tremendous.
“You always feel valued, you’re always thanked and the £1,000 bonus was a beautiful gesture which was greatly appreciated by all of us.”
It was a sentiment endorsed by husband John who has worked at Platts for 20 years.
He said: “It’s a really family-oriented company and they have helped me through the bad times when I lost my mum and dad. They were there when I needed them.
“Finding Dawn was a big bonus. It was one of those things that happened and 16 years down the line we’re still together and very happy. We’re like a family within a family.”
John’s son, Ryan, started out as a cleaner five years ago and worked his way up the ranks.
Ryan said: “I’ve got a good job as a shift supervisor and the people here are great as well. It’s a very special place to work.”
Brian Evans and shift supervisor Alan Evans are another father and son duo who both work at Platts.
Former driver Brian retired last year but returned to work as an odd job man after managing director Caroline asked him to come back.
He said: “It’s a proper family firm and everybody clicks together. They really do look after their workers and they get a lot of loyalty in return.”
Caroline Platt said: “We are blessed to have such a fantastic workforce and the £1,000 bonus was a way of showing our appreciation after they went above and beyond the call of duty when things got tough because of the pandemic.
“We were thrilled to win the two categories at the FSB’s Wales awards and a great deal of the credit must go to our staff.
“Whatever the outcome in Glasgow, we are immensely proud of what we have achieved.
“But we are not resting on our laurels because our journey on the road to even more success continues. Watch this space.”