THE Mayor of Barnsley officially opened the retail unit of one of Barnsley’s fastest-growing businesses this week - and they’re hoping to support more local people with their ‘very ambitious’ plans.

Care home supplier Countrywide Healthcare supplies homes with housekeeping, incontinence, medical and catering consumables, as well as assisting with specialist interior design services.

The business was launched in 1996 and moved to its former Grimethorpe base from Carlton in 2006.

The company flourished during lockdown and last year bought the former Sash UK site on Ferrymoor Way, also in Grimethorpe.

Sash - which was started by local joiners Ron Bean and Terry Morrell in 1965 - was sold to new owners in 2016 but entered administration in June 2020.

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Owner and director of the firm, Jeremy Gilson, told the Chronicle: “We’ve been supplying care homes for just over 25 years.

“The company has grown and we’ve been successful - if you’re in a care home we supply any nursing or janitorial equipment, anything non-food that you need in a care home.

“We bought this building and it was a bit of a mess to say the least - we’ve done a lot of work to remediate it.”

The warehouse stood empty since Sash went into administration but Alastair Kitching, Countrywide Healthcare’s executive chairman, applied to Barnsley Council’s planning board for permission to change the building’s use from industrial to storage and distribution.

Following a ‘seven-figure’ remediation, the firm opened the new warehouse last year which coincided with the opening of their first retail unit.

“We moved in September but what we always wanted was some retail space,” Jeremy added.

“We applied for a grant from Barnsley Council which they very kindly gave us and we got retail planning, so we’ve been working on this mobility shop for a while now.”

The firm employs 120 people - and Jeremy hopes the business will expand so they can support more local people.

“We employ people from the local area and it’s really important to us.

“We’ve got very ambitious growth plans and the mobility shop is just a part of that.”