AC-ET’s Leeds-based operation was formed in 1996 to service clients in the North of England alongside its head office near London, which has been trading since the early 1970s.
Originally 6,000 square foot, AC-ET North’s sales office and warehouse premises were acquired in 2000. Located on the outskirts of the city, which has strong links with the creative and digital industries, the office is well placed to service AC-ET’s customers in the North of England.
With its steady annual growth, and the overall business expanding its portfolio in the early 2000s to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ of rigging, audio and video technologies alongside lighting, in 2007 AC-ET North began leasing the adjacent warehouse unit. This provided it with a further 5,000 square foot to house sales stock alongside existing warehouse facilities at the company’s Southern head office premises.
By 2017, the sales office had outgrown its existing facilities, as employee numbers had now risen to 28 staff. Fortuitously AC-ET North was able to acquire the adjacent warehouse, paving the way for its long-awaited expansion plans.
AC-ET’s UK Sales & Purchasing Director, Jonathan Walters set up the AC-ET North operation. He commented: “When we started at the current premises there were only four of us. However, by 2017 we had severely outgrown our sales office, warehouse space and demo facilities. Acquiring the adjacent building paved the way for us to completely redesign and upgrade our premises, to meet the needs of our customers, suppliers and staff – both for today and well into the future.”
In a building project that began in October 2017, the adjacent premises have been purpose-designed as a single space which now accommodates a full height sales floor, numerous meeting rooms, a boardroom, a new training suite, and a full height demo facility which is ideal for showcasing cyc/wash lighting and video projection products.
Jonathan commented: “With the company’s Rigging, Audio and Video sales divisions all based in our Leeds office, as well as a Northern Lighting sales team, purchasing and other support staff, it was important to have the potential for future expansion of the sales floor, to fit in with our growth plans.”
As well as offering a much-enhanced experience for customers, and a more modern working environment for staff, the environmentally-friendly building design is lit using some of the very latest, energy-efficient Chroma-Q® Space Force™ and Inspire™ LED house and effects lighting technologies available from AC-ET’s portfolio.
Jonathan commented: “As well as being low energy, the lighting gives us a lot of flexibility. The main office lighting’s colour temperature and output can be subtly adjusted during the day in accordance with changing ambient light levels, to provide a more comfortable working environment. In addition, in the breakout and reception areas, coloured effects lighting help to set the right mood and tone.”
With an eye on potential future areas of expansion for the company’s complementary services, the new dedicated training suite can accommodate classroom-based learning for up to 18 customers at a time. The plan is to offer a full calendar of training events covering key technologies from AC-ET’s portfolio of many UK-exclusive marques. Brands that have recently benefitted from training sessions in the new facilities include the Vista 3 by Chroma-Q® lighting & media control system, the Luminex ethernet networking range, and Allen & Heath dLive digital mixing consoles.
In addition to the upgraded Leeds facilities, AC-ET has also taken on an additional 7,500 square foot warehouse at industry live events hub, Production Park for the extensive SIXTY82 range of trussing and staging products in its portfolio.
Jonathan concluded: “After a gradual but steady expansion over the last 20 years, it was getting more and more difficult to work out of our existing AC-ET North facility. What was for many years a dream, after two years of hard work has finally turned into a reality. We now have a state of the art facility that is future-proof and enhances the experience of visiting customers and suppliers, as well providing a much better working environment for our staff.”