Shropshire Star

Family business with global reputation still going strong as it celebrates 50th birthday

When Bill and Brenda Brown launched a start-up engineering business in a converted farm building in Hampshire 50 years ago, they could never have imagined that it would grow to become a global brand, making equipment for superyachts.

Makefast's Fun Day to celebrate their 50th Anniversary.

In 1989, the couple moved their business, Makefast, from Swanwick to a new factory built in Newtown, Mid Wales. Fellow director David Cozens and a dozen of their 18 employees moved with them.

Half a century later, the business, employing 120 people, is still going strong with group turnover of £16.5 million and the Makefast brand established worldwide, with satellite offices in America and Italy.

In 2022, the company won a Global Export Award from Business Wales.

The business is now continuing its record of consistent, sustainable growth under the direction of Bill and Brenda’s sons, Chris and Michael who are chief executive and director, respectively. Michael’s son Tom makes it a third generation of the family working for the company.

It’s a family business in every sense of the word. In addition to the Brown dynasty, Makefast employs generations of several families and believes that their loyalty has been key to the company’s enduring success.

To celebrate the 50th birthday, employees and their families were treated to a fun day at Newtown Recreation Ground this year and all employees have also been given an extra day’s holiday.

The Brown dynasty at Makefast – parents Bill and Brenda and sons Chris (left) and Michael.