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Why friendly sibling rivalry is fuelling growth at paint firms

PUBLISHED: 11:31 26 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:31 26 October 2017

Business feature at Lustre Coatings.
Steve Baker (front) Adam Baker (left) and Jason Baker.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Business feature at Lustre Coatings. Steve Baker (front) Adam Baker (left) and Jason Baker. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

Running a family business can bring its challenges – especially when relatives have their own ideas about how the firm should run.

So when Stephen Baker retired three years ago, his sons Jason and Adam split the business into Lustre Coatings and Colorcote, with each taking charge of their own company.

Now Lustre has further stepped out of its sister firm’s shadow after moving to a seven-acre site in Ipswich Road, Tasburgh, leaving the Potash Lane, Hethel, premises it shared with Colorcote.

Managing director Jason, 47, said he wanted to make the move so the company could continue to grow. He said: “We have got a big site here so there is room to expand the business when we have the work.

“The plan is to build another unit and bring my son Jake over from the Hethel site.”

Stephen Baker founded Colorcote in 1985 to provide spray painting and powder coating services, primarily for vehicles.

Working with his sons he built the business, which now employs 33 people with a further 11 at Lustre, which works on smaller components.

While both Jason and Adam both like to be hands-on they admit to different management styles and agreed “the time was right” to do things their own way when their father retired.

Adam, 45, said: “To be honest it was something we should probably have done sooner.

“We are sister companies – we don’t work together but we do help each other out. If someone is away then we will help fill in and we refer work to each other.

“Jason and I are so different so it works well with the businesses being separate as we each have our own way of running things.”

Jason formed Lustre to follow his own interests as well as find more working independence.

He said: “We are not an everyday garage – we don’t paint cars. We do a lot of components for high-end sports cars, industrial paintwork and finishes for wooden furniture.

“I always said if I could be half as successful as my dad in business then I would be 
happy.”

What does their father think of it all now he has been away from the businesses for three years?

“It is good to see the boys getting on and I am pleased to see how well they are doing,” Stephen said. “It is nice to know that it is going to go on to the next generation.”

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