A new hardwood importer has been launched by two partners with a combined 40 years’ timber experience, aiming to provide a “bespoke service tailored to the needs of its customers”.

Barnswell Timber has been created by Andy Craig, 38, and Simon Feeney, 47, who were formerly site director at James Latham’s Wigston branch and timber manager at its Ossett depot respectively. The company has been formed out of Barnswell Ltd, an operation established by Mr Craig’s father, and describes itself as a family business.

“Between us Simon and I have 40 years in the trade; we know the market, know the customers and know where to get the material,” said Mr Craig. “We’re not aiming for an operation with millions of pounds of timber on the ground, but one with around £500,000 of stock and a specific focus on end user customers, who we will look after, providing a bespoke service and supplying exactly what they need, whether that’s containers, packs, half packs or individual cubic metres.”

Barnswell is initially supplying US, African and European hardwoods, plus laminated European redwood and oak products. Its timber is imported into Liverpool, Felixstowe, Thamesport and Southampton and it is using warehousing and distribution specialist CS Ellis Group as distributor. It is also based out of the latter’s South Luffenham site, near Oakham, where it has 25,000ft² of storage and has recruited two warehouse staff.

Mr Craig said the company had already completed 100 orders and was optimistic about prospects.

“People have questioned the wisdom of launching in the current climate, but we’re hitting our targets pretty much spot on, we’ve delivered orders on time and to specification and had a very encouraging reaction from customers,” he said. “We’ve also had a very pleasing response from suppliers too who, in this age where cash and cash flow are king, have been very supportive.”

Barnswell received FSC and PEFC chain of custody certification just before Christmas.

“This will open up another market for Barnswell, and leave us even better placed to push on into 2012,” said Mr Craig.