50 golden years of manufacturing with Amberol

50 golden years of manufacturing with Amberol

2019 is a year of celebration for Amberol as we turn 50 years old in March. And, although much has changed in terms of the products that we make and the materials and manufacturing processes that we use, the Amberol values of offering robust, high quality products and working honestly and transparently with customers have not.

The story of Amberol’s beginnings

Few of our customers realise that when it was first set up in 1969 by Jack Williamson and Phil Atkinson, Amberol didn’t actually make the self-watering planters and litter bins that we are now so well known for. In fact, the company sourced and supplied paddle mats for high footfall areas such as public entrances.

From this, the idea of fluid-absorbent matting was born – which in turn proved to be the inspiration for our self-watering planters. Although our Aquafeed™ matting has changed significantly with the introduction of new materials and superior manufacturing processes, the quality of the matting remains key to the success of our self-watering planters.

A timeline of success

1969 - Amberol is set up by founding fathers Jack Williamson and Phil Atkinson. 50 years later, the company is still run by members of Jack and Phil’s families. The values that Amberol was founded on are still in evidence today: an honest service with robust products that offer value for money; treating customers as individuals - and even friends. 

1970s – Amberol’s unique Aquafeed™ matting goes on sale in 1979. Since that time, advances in materials and technology means that Aquafeed™ is possibly the most effective self-watering matting on the market today. 

1990s – Amberol moves form Belper to larger premises in Alfreton. Bins are born as the company diversifies into making bins – a logical extension for an organisation that is all about making Britain’s public spaces, cleaner and more beautiful.

2000s - The turn of the millennium sees the unveiling of one of Amberol’s most iconic products – the Percy Penguin bin, instantly recognisable in theme parks, playgrounds, zoos and public parks across the UK. 

The 2010s – Amberol goes global selling products in Asia, Australia and Europe. Exciting new products are developed, including wood effect hogshead-style barrels and stone effect troughs. Amberol also develop and supply bins specifically for the 2012 London Olympics. 

The future – The company will continue to develop, refine and improve current and new products as well as updating manufacturing processes. 

Side by side with Britain in Bloom

Having worked with so many In Bloomers supplying self-watering planters and litter bins over several decades, it seems fitting that the company is just four years younger than the Britain in Bloom competition. Indeed, Amberol’s planters often feature prominently in many In Bloom groups’ entries. with In Bloomers and judges alike appreciative of the reduced maintenance demands and water conservation that Amberol’s self-watering planters offer.

So, what is the secret of Amberol’s success and longevity? Current MD Patience Atkinson-Gregory, daughter of co-founder Phil Atkinson believes it is the combination of offering quality products with a level of personal service rarely found in a world dominated by online retail. 

She comments: “We may sell our litter bins and self-watering planters across the world, but we are still very much a family-run operation, with experienced long serving staff who know the products and our customers. We are unusual in that our reps are more than happy to travel to new and old customers alike to provide demos of our products as well as offering advice. However, while our heritage is very important to us, we believe it is important to move forward and are constantly looking for ways to improve performance and design as well as introducing new products that our customers need.”

An example of this is one of Amberol’s newest litter bins – the Cafe range which has been specially designed to improve recycling of disposable cups used by takeaways and coffee outlets.  

“Our Café bin is an example of how we listen to what our customers want and aim to meet a need that in this case, didn’t really exist just a few years ago,” adds Patience. “We will also be unveiling some updated and new products during our 50th year so watch this space.”

For more information about Amberol's range of self-watering planters, litter bins, seating or planterware, call 01773 830 930 or email sales@amberol.co.uk.  

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