Bob Stapley and Staff

Some businesses who started out at Cariocca have grown so much that even our large parks could no longer accommodate their needs for extra space. Bob Stapley moved on in 2011, but tells us he still has fond memories of his time in Cariocca Ardwick…

Bob Stapley

Managing Director, Thermaplate International

As a manufacturer of heat exchangers for the latest commercial heating system technology, Thermaplate International has provided products to help heat many of the UK’s well-known buildings. A successful million-pound business, the company has come a long way since its modest beginnings at Cariocca in Ardwick.

“I first moved into Cariocca in 1995,” recalls Bob. “Then there was just one assembly worker and myself, I can remember our unit number – 38. “Then in 1996, unit 37 became vacant so we also took that one. The business went on growing rapidly and so in 1997 we moved out of our two original units and went into unit 17 – a much larger one.” This answered the company’s needs until 2001, when Bob also took on an extra unit to accommodate expanded production.

“Our business is very demanding of space,” explains Bob. “Fabricated frames, plates, pumps, valves, controls and the testing function – it all needs putting somewhere. Unfortunately by 2011, our continued growth meant that we finally needed more space than Cariocca could provide. We’d also reached the point when owning our premises was the best option for us – so we took the decision to move out to Salford Quays.

Since the firm’s small beginnings at Cariocca it has grown to become a major UK industry supplier. “You’ll find some of our products in all the big-name hotel chains,” says Bob proudly. “The hot water system at the Etihad Stadium uses our kit. The hot water services and the under-soil heating for the Millennium Stadium also use our products, and we supplied equipment to heat the pool used at the Commonwealth Games.”

Looking back, Bob has good memories of Cariocca and would recommend it to others looking to start and grow a business. “Our needs constantly changed over the time in Ardwick and we were able to work our way up without being tied to the kind of 2,3,4 or even 5-year leases you find elsewhere. Security was another thing that was great – in our new premises we’ve had to invest in upgraded security, while at Cariocca it was already there and included in our rentals. Then, of course, there were the people in the office who were always fantastic – nothing was ever too much trouble for them.”

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