South Shields based Solar Solve Ltd trading as Solar Solve Marine enters the new year of 2018 on a very significant occasion.
30 years ago this month, in January 1988, the Lightfoot family business of Northern Window Blind Co., a partnership that was established in a shop in Sunderland in 1975, changed its name and status to Solar Solve Ltd and began to specialise in window blind products for the global marine industry.
Well respected by the whole of the global marine industry and regarded as the creators and pioneers of solar roller sunscreens as a navigation safety aid, the owners quickly established themselves as the world leaders and have remained in pole position ever since.
Founder and company chairman John Lightfoot comments, “We are extremely proud of our achievements and the fact that many worldwide distributors who signed up with us in the early days, still remain loyal customers today, Solar Solve Ltd’s Pearl Anniversary. Three of them are currently in our Top Five Customer list.”
“Three of our main suppliers are also the same ones we began using in the very early days as well.”
With 13 years experience as a blindmaker and 10 years as a marine engineer, John Lightfoot saw an opportunity to combine the two and set out to supply shipowners with what they needed, from a reliable and committed supplier who would treat them like kings.
He continues, “It is appropriate that this is our Pearl anniversary because we have benefited from quite a lot of our very own Pearls of Wisdom over the years, committed policies that have contributed immensely to the company’s amazing success.”
When it comes to Type Approved roller sunscreens and specialist roller blinds for the marine and other industries, Solar Solve proudly boasts that it is the leader in the field.
The company has served thousands of customers and supplied tens of millions of pounds of goods over the period, to 95 countries on 6 continents. It has withstood quite a few recessions and always ensured that it lives to fight another day.
As a direct result of the significant exporting achievements of the business, the chairman was awarded an MBE in 2002 and his daughter Julie, the Managing Director, received an MBE in 2012. Both were presented by Her Majesty The Queen and were for Services to International Trade.
Julie Lightfoot comments, “The royal recognition was a great honour and the icing on the cake but the whole team is motivated by what we do for our customers and the many customer commendations we receive.”
“We get a great sense of satisfaction when people contact the Solar Solve team with problems caused by the sun, asking if we can help and then, after working through their problem with them and supplying the products they need, receiving feedback saying how delighted they are with our products and service.”
“That is very rewarding and something special. It’s what we thrive on.”
Top Image – Chairman John Lightfoot proudly stands outside the shop in Sunderland’s High Street West in January 1988, when he and his wife Lilian changed the name and status of their partnership from Northern Window Blind Co. to Solar Solve Ltd trading as Solar Solve Marine International.
In 1993 the business was re-located to factory units in their home town of South Shields and a few years later the word ‘International’ was dropped.