A leading Ripon firm that's built up a national reputation for innovation and craftsmanship, has celebrated 50 years of business and proudly championing British engineering.
As the UK's largest manufacturer of gritters and salt spreading vehicles, with an 80 per cent monopoly of their market, Econ Engineering carries a lot of clout on the national industry stage, but the company's bosses emphasise that they will never lose sight of their local roots - of which they feel very proud.
Growing from six employees in the early days, to a workforce that's now 240-strong, sales director Andrew Lupton said the company has seen generations of Ripon families working at the factory over the years and passing the baton on - fathers, sons and daughters, grandparents and grandchildren.
As well as its national ambitions, Econ, which has a turnover of £28m, has embraced dozens of community projects in Ripon over the years - a commitment which saw employees and management playing a pivotal role in the city's Armistice commemorations in 2018.
It was Econ that produced the moving silhouette soldiers to show their support for residents who devised the scheme.
Andrew Lupton told the 'Gazette: "We have always believed in giving something back. Ripon has been good to Econ in many ways over the years, and when an opportunity arises to help the community, we do it.
"It's really exciting to be celebrating 50 years of business. It's nice to look at all the pictures on the wall that were taken in the early days, and think about how much the business has grown since then, and all the people who have helped to make that happen."
To mark their golden jubilee in style, Econ hosted a special open day event on Saturday, where invited guests and the wider community were able to have a tour of the factory and find out more about the history and origins of the business - as well as its future.
Mr Lupton said: “We wanted to show the people of Ripon what’s behind the doors at Econ, and give them a glimpse of the factory and the products we make here that we are so very proud of.
"We offer highly-skilled jobs in engineering and design - there are not many jobs like that within the borough. Jobs are quite heavily focused on the restaurant and hotelier trade. We pride ourselves on giving people a great service, and we are customer-focused. Coupled with that, we have invested in the factory and our employees.
"We have sometimes had several generations of the same family working for us and giving decades of service to the company - it certainly gives a nice continuity and family feel to what we do."
As part of the anniversary celebrations, Econ has also built a golden gritter that will tour the UK in the autumn and add to their fleet of 700 vehicles.
Mr Lupton said: “The golden gritter is unique, and is even more eye-catching than the usual striking ‘high vis’ yellow lorries we are famous for making locally.”