Coal merchant Swainson and Cowins is celebrating its first anniversary under new ownership after merging two long-standing Eden businesses following their buy-out by Pearsons of Duns, a well-established family-run business based in the Scottish Borders.
In August, 2015, John Swainson, of T. E. Swainson, retired and in September R. D. Cowins of Culgaith was acquired. The two company names were retained, along with their former coal rounds and coalmen, who continue to provide first-class service to towns and villages throughout the Eden area.
Since the new ownership, Swainson and Cowins, in addition to the traditionally offered solid fuel, also sell bottled gas, wood fuel and biomass wood pellets, which have been added to the range by the new owners.
The newly-refurbished shop at Myers Lane, Penrith, now incorporates a Premier Charnwood Stoves Dealership Showroom and also stocks stove spares, open fire spares, chimney spares, accessories and coal bunkers. Air Products bottled gases are also available for industrial use, as the company is an agent.
A new website www.swainsonandcowins.co.uk was launched last month, meaning that customers can now easily place fuel orders on-line at their convenience, as well as over the telephone on 01768 862455 or by visiting the shop Monday-Friday 8.00am - 5.30pm and Saturdays 8.00am - 12.30pm.
Pre-packed fuels, gas bottles and fire spares can be collected at the "cash and carry" shop during opening hours, although most customers have their products delivered free of charge - and tipped or stacked where they want them, rather than simply delivered to the roadside.
A spokesman for the company said: "Due to the increased demand for closed appliance fuel, many customers are now burning ovals, either on their own or mixed with coal.
"Everyone we deliver is stacked where the customer wants them, whether it is cubic metres of kiln-dried hardwood logs, a pallet of Hotmax or a pallet of ENplus A1 wood pellets - not left at the kerbside or in a driveway. This is all part of our high standard of customer service.
Office manager, Helen Ingham, has undergone extensive training, along with the other four full-time and three part-time members of staff, resulting in Swainson and Cowins being approved by the Coal Merchant Scheme and by industry regulator HETAS as an approved retailer, meeting stringent UK standards in its own right and not just as part of the Pearsons Group.
Monty Pearson, managing director of Pearsons of Duns, said: "Pearsons of Duns are proud to have Swainson & Cowins as a key part of our group. The business will continue to operate following its core values to provide a traditional family run business with quality in mind, offering excellent customer service to the Eden Valley community. Local staff have coped extremely well through their first year.