The 87-year-old owner of a specialist pottery import business is celebrating 30 years of success and says he is not concerned about the impact Brexit may have on his company.
Barry Iskander runs ABS Pottery Imports Ltd from his home at Barton, near Bidford-on-Avon, and set up the company in 1989 after leaving his job at Rover.
The business specialises in importing terracotta to the UK from factories in Catalonia and has also imported products from Portugal and Italy over the last three decades. It imports 40,000 pieces a year.
Barry has been working with accountancy firm Burgis & Bullock, which has offices in Leamington, Nuneaton, Rugby and Stratford-upon-Avon, for more than 10 years, as he continues to develop his business.
The accountants have been helping him with the Make Tax Digital initiative, moving his accounts from Sage to Xero. Making Tax Digital is the government’s flagship scheme that requires online tax filing and payment, as well as digital record keeping.
Barry primarily supplies trade in the UK and works with some independent retailers including Adnams Breweries’ in Suffolk and The Burford Barden Centre.
He is not concerned about the long-term impact of exiting the European Union and is looking to see what new export options there might be.
Barry said: “We supply independents, department stores, online retailers and catering distributors across the country and exclusively import from Europe. It’s a model that has served us well over the last 30 years.
“I’d had a love affair with Spain and terracotta for many years, so after I left Rover, my wife convinced me to start importing it. I had only planned to do so for 10 years but I love what I do and have continued ever since.
“It’s a small business and we employ five part-time staff. Our turnover isn’t big, but we make a profit and I expect that to continue; working with Burgis & Bullock helps me to plan for the future.
“We have had consistent support from Burgis & Bullock for over a decade and they have expanded significantly, but that hasn’t altered the way we work at all.
“It will be a difficult 12 months ahead with Brexit, but it is only a temporary concern for me and my business.
“We don’t do much exporting at all. I’d be interested to look into that. We’re always looking for ways to improve, you can’t afford to be anything other than proactive in business.”
Trevor Day, Head of Client Services at Burgis & Bullock, said: “ABS Pottery Imports Ltd is a very niche business, there aren’t many other people that do what he does in this country, and that has helped to make it a real success.
“We have worked closely with Barry for a number of years and introducing him to Xero, as part of Making Tax Digital, is the most recent initiative we have supported him on.
“Barry is dedicated and committed to success of his business and we look forward to continuing our relationship with him over the coming years.”
PICTURE CAPTION: Barry Iskander and Trevor Day (Burgis & Bullock).