The UK’s largest orthodontic laboratory is celebrating its 20th birthday – while recruiting more staff and fitting out a huge new, state-of-the-art premises.
Twenty years ago, Managing Director Sean Thompson started Ashford Orthodontics from his garage while working in the orthodontic and oral facial department of Sunderland Royal Hospital. After leaving the hospital, he was joined in 2005 by directors Craig Stevens, from Sunderland, and Graeme Winyard, from Durham, two experienced orthodontic and dental technicians.
“Back in the late 1990s there was a shortage in the provision of specialised orthodontic lab work which meant specialists sending work to non-specialised labs,” explained Sean
Now the company supplies clients around the world and employs 65 people from their premises in Southwick, Sunderland. Ashford is in the process of recruiting five more people while doubling the size of its facility at Southwick Industrial Estate to 24,000sq ft.
“I’m very proud we’ve come so far from starting in my garage on an evening and at weekends to the country’s largest orthodontic laboratory. What’s particularly pleasing is that so many of our team – and clients – have stayed with us. We owe huge thanks to the staff who’ve made us so successful, particularly the likes of Dave Newton, Paul Newton, Jeff Sanderson, Dan Connolly and Martin Murphy who’ve been with us since our first lab opened,” said Sean.