1989 - Colin Rafferty (Rafferty Furnishings)
Colin Rafferty won the 1989 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award with his business, Rafferty Furnishings.
At the age of 22, Colin Rafferty set up his own business manufacturing and upholstering bedroom furniture. His business took off, expanded rapidly and within sixth months, Colin received the 1989 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, presented to him by Richard Branson at the UK final.
Colin Rafferty (left) meeting HRH Prince of Wales
Until the mid-nineties, the business supplied headboards, beds and sofa beds nationwide to trade customers. In 1995 Colin decided to extend and develop the business premises to create The Sofa Bed Factory Shop, his first retail outlet, selling his products directly to the public. Such was the success of this venture that within three years Colin was able to open a second retail outlet – The Bed and Pine Furniture Store – selling beds, hand-made furniture and unusual home accessories. Colin now employs 20 staff and trades from 16,000 square-foot premises, which incorporates The Cane Studio – featuring the largest selection of conservatory furniture in the Teesside area.
In addition to the furniture business, Colin also has a property company which buys derelict factory units and converts them into smaller work units. At present, Colin has over 20 fully let units with more under development. Most units are let to new companies, and Colin is always available to advise on any business matters.
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