Nick Wraith and Andy Ferns establish UA Extrusions. The partners trade bespoke aluminium extrusions for a wide variety of industries, from a shared desk space, on a second floor office in Wilmslow, Cheshire.
The company relocates to new premises in Wilmslow and becomes the UK agents for Wispeco, a South African aluminium extrusion manufacturer and importer, in doing so significantly broaden the UA offering.
Further relocation, this time to offices across the road, the business is diversifying and growing to now employ 6 people. It quickly becomes clear that UA Extrusions can not continue to service its clients' demand by using a factory some 10,000 miles away, so the business embarks upon the supply and manufacture of extruded, fabricated and finished components for OEMs in the UK.
Further expansion and diversification sees UA Extrusions become a manufacturer and installer of aluminium fenestration.
Cliff Thornton is appointed as Operations Director and brings with him a wealth of experience in the display industry. Operating from three small manufacturing units dotted around Manchester, the company becomes the UK’s leading supplier of glass doors for the bottle cooler market.
The company relocates to manufacturing premises in Newton Heath, Manchester and changes its name to United Aluminium – a nod to the proximity of Manchester United’s original home.
United Aluminium expand into the display industry and become one of its recognised names. The directors go back to school, and a period of study follows at Manchester Business School. They make the decision to focus their burgeoning business on the display industry.
The Unibox modular system of profiles connectors and hardware is launched and UA adapts its manufacturing to incorporate display cases for the retail environment.
As new kids on the block in the retail sector the company wins an order to manufacture 900 display cases for Dixons stores and gains industry recognition as a major manufacturer.
Using our experience and contacts in the display refrigeration industry, we develop a range of chillers for catering carriages in the rail industry.
Working closely with many brands Unibox win a prestigious award in the point of purchase industry and also organise the manufacture and roll out of the brand in the USA.
UA continues to expand its range of profiles whilst investing in its manufacturing facility. The result sees UA gaining yet more ground on the road to becoming a leading supplier – not just in retail, but also in the event and exhibition industries.
2005 – 2010
Continue to work bloody hard!
Group company Lumenal is formed as a manufacturer of LED lighting fixtures for the retail industry.
The company relocates to its current site in Middleton – a refurbished, self contained 25,000 sq.ft factory and office facility.
Then there was one! Andy sells his shares to Nick after their 23 year partnership as he moves to pastures new. Nick, with the support of Operations Director, Cliff, along with all his staff takes the company into a new era with his 'infectious enthusiasm'.
Unibox Retail launches, a sub-brand specifically created to provide a more focused offering to the retail industry. November also brings an Award win for Unibox at the Lux Awards, with illuminated shelving system 'Kontakt'.
Following the launch of Unibox Retail, we continue our brand research project, culminating in a new brand identity being applied throughout the whole company. 'Kontakt' is also nominated for another award at the Retail Design Expo, championing innovative retail solutions.