Shropshire Star

Camper van enthusiast turns hobby into job after redundancy during pandemic

It was just a hobby – but after being made redundant during the lockdown, Nick Smith turned his passion for camper vans into a full-time job.

Nick Smith

The 47-year-old set up Midland Van Glass in Tong, near Cosford, to carry out camper van conversions, as well as a range of other services, and says business has taken off.

He was made redundant from his job as a production supervisor last June, but now hopes to move his own business to a larger unit and take on staff so he can expand.

Nick Smith with his dog Ronnie

"It was a scary time being made redundant," said Nick, of Oakengates, Telford.

"Midland Van Glass came about in February, just before the lockdown, but it was a part-time thing.

"It was my hobby. But then word got around and it's really busy now. It's become my full-time job.

"I get a standard panel van and I cut the panels out, put the windows in, fit the carpet, lighting, electrics, kitchen, bed.

Nick Smith who runs Midland Van Glass

"A full conversion takes around two weeks."

Before starting his business, he says he converted vans for himself which he ended up selling.

Nick is now looking for a larger unit to move to so he can expand.

"When I spoke to Bradford Estates during lockdown I said I was looking to expand and get a bigger place and take on staff," he added.

"They were really helpful and took me to see some potential sites.

"I would like to stay in the same area.

Nick Smith pictured with one of the vans he is converting

"My vision for the future is to have a bigger premises where I can fit six to eight vans in, a forecourt where I can sell camper vans and a crew of four people."

Alexander Newport, managing director of Bradford Estates, said: "We can't believe it's been 12 months since we went into our first national lockdown.

"There are a myriad of businesses based here on the estates, all of which have had to deal with unique changes during the past year - some positive and some not-so.

"Nick's story is one of our most positive tales from the pandemic - he managed to turn a negative experience into something so positive.

"We are incredibly proud of him and how he managed to adapt in such strange circumstances to make a hobby into his full-time career and we wish him every success moving forward.”

For more details about his business search for Midland Van Glass on Facebook.

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