The Lightfoot family, who are owners and Board Directors of their family business Solar Solve Ltd, are now 4 months into their 45th year in business. They will be celebrating its 45th Anniversary later this year. Founded in 1975 by the current Chairman John Lightfoot, an ex-marine engineer and his wife Lilian, Company Secretary; the original partnership was a domestic manufacturer and supplier of window blinds, trading as Northern Window Blind Company out of a showroom in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear.
In 1987 John realised the potential for designing, developing, manufacturing and marketing a special roller screen that can easily be installed by ships staff at a vessels wheelhouse windows, as a navigation safety aid. Branded SOLASOLV®, the roller sunscreens reject up to 87% of the heat, 99% of the uv light and 93% of the glare that passes through the windows. A simple description would be roller blinds made with a thin, tinted, rigid plastic film. In reality, they are far more technical, very effective and have been Trade Marked as Sunglasses for Ships®.
In 1988 the name and status of the business was changed to Solar Solve Ltd trading as Solar Solve Marine. By 1993, having stopped supplying the domestic market, the company relocated to a factory in the family’s home town of South Shields, to concentrate all of their efforts on supplying the marine industry, expanding and employing more people.
John and Lilian’s twin children, David and Julie, both helped in the family business from an early age, being only 6 years old when it was established. By their early twenties, Julie had joined the company full time as General Manager and after 2 years, was promoted to Managing Director. David, who had chosen a career in computing and Information Technology, became the company’s external ICT Consultant and has continued to successfully guide the company in this direction, with Solar Solve’s Cyber Essentials Accreditation being his latest achievement.
Today, Solar Solve has won numerous awards for exports and good business practice. It has expanded its markets and now supplies its brand leading products to Air Traffic Control towers, cranes and heavy mining equipment all over the world. Having traded with 108 countries, the family business is well established, well liked and much appreciated by its thousands of customers. There are over 200 Customer Commendations on the solasolv.com website Testimonials page to confirm it.
Chairman John Lightfoot MBE commented, “I have always loved my job, even when things were tough and still get an enormous amount of satisfaction from being able to help our customers and make them extremely happy. The Customer Is King has been the motto of our family business since we opened in 1975 and it has served us well for 45 years. With Solar Solve’s great team of dedicated employees supporting us, I am confident it will continue to do so for years to come.