Mersey cushion maker creates new jobs as demand soars

Knowsley-based Caldeira was started by Tony Caldeira with a stall in Great Homer Street Market in 1991 and now its soft furnishing are in demand on both sides of the Atlantic. Tony McDonough reports

Tony Caldeira
Tony Caldeira, managing director of cushion-maker Caldeira


Merseyside cushion-maker Caldeira is taking on 15 new staff at its factory in Knowsley due to soaring demand for its home furnishings products – taking its headcount up to 50.

Managing director Tony Caldeira, who started the business with a stall in Great Homer Street Market in 1991, says retailers both in the UK and the US have placed “significant new orders as their stores and on-line operations have reopened”.

The company has also agreed to continue manufacturing PPE gowns until the end of 2020, as part of a consortium of UK manufacturers, to help the continuing fight against COVID-19. Calderia reopened its Knowsley factory in April, at the height of the epidemic, to produce gowns for NHS and other key workers.

This effort help the UK rebuild essential stocks of PPE in case of a second wave of the COVID-19 this winter and will give Merseyside some independent PPE gown manufacturing capacity if global supplies become scarce during future outbreaks.

Mr Caldeira said: “Given the current difficulties in the economy, Caldeira is very fortunate to be so busy. In many ways we are in the right place at the right time.Many consumers have been stuck inside their homes for months and have decided to change their soft furnishings, especially fast turning, low cost products such as cushions.

“In addition, Caldeira is still supporting the national effort to rebuild PPE stocks so we are busy on two fronts. This means that we need to expand our manufacturing capacity quickly and take on more staff.

“We are cautiously optimistic but need to tread very carefully, especially when you consider that just a few months ago we had to furlough the whole factory as all of our cushion orders evaporated when the UK and US went into lockdown.”

As part of its recruitment drive, Caldeira has been working with the team from Knowsley Works to help bring some of borough long-term unemployed back to work.  Patrick McCarten, Head of Employment Initiatives at Knowsley Council, is pleased that Caldeira has been able to give opportunities to Knowsley residents.

He added: “Many Knowsley residents have been affected by COVID-19, whether they are business owners, members of staff that have been furloughed or worse still, made redundant. Caldeira has provided much-needed employment opportunities during these difficult times.”

And Caldeira operations manager, Shaun Fletcher, also said: “Our 15 new staff will be key to helping Caldeira continue to grow its cushion production after the lockdown and will also be helping to replenish the nation’s stocks of PPE at the same time.”

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