A growing number of entrepreneurs are going mobile as a result of the coronavirus crisis, according to Europe largest trailer maker.
Ifor Williams Trailers say sales of their innovative Business Inabox model - that can be used to set up shop in different places - are soaring across the UK and farther afield as companies adapt to the new challenges posed by the pandemic.
Customers have the option of having living accommodation at the front that can be kitted out like a two-berth caravan with seating for three people and an en suite toilet if required.
It can also have a table, a sink, a cooking hob and optional grill, a fridge and a flat screen 12 volt television with a DVD player.
According to Ifor Williams Trailers, the trailer is already being put to a huge variety of uses by companies, including mobile shops, barbershops, workshops, bars and catering and exhibition units.
The Business Inabox has even helped solve social distancing headaches on Scotland’s largest island by lending a hand in the launch of an outdoor takeaway café.
Sub-distributor Joe Engebret, who is the only trailer supplier on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland, looked no further than his favourite trailer brand when it came to keeping his customers safely apart at his combined trailer sales centre, filling station and convenience store based in Stornoway.
Ifor Williams Trailers spokesperson Samantha Williams said: “In recent months we have seen a big increase in demand for our Business Inabox trailers at our sales centre in Corwen.
“Our network of 50 UK distributors and our international distributors as far afield as New Zealand and Australia are also experiencing a similar rise in sales.
“The coronavirus crisis is making companies think outside the box so they can find new ways of operating to meet challenges of the current situation.
“The Business Inabox has always been a popular product but it's taking off big time now.
“It is very much sought after and I think it's going to keep going from there because people are going to be able to see the product on the road in different guises, creating a new momentum.
“For those who do not need such a large trailer we can also convert a smaller horsebox.
“The possibilities are limitless for any business that needs to be able to trade in different places without the need to tow a caravan or pay for accommodation.
“It's an amazing product and I think because it's so bespoke, we're not limited in what we can do. Working alongside the customer we can make sure that their specification is exactly right.
“Increasingly, companies are taking their business to their customers rather than waiting for the customers to come to them.
“We can also turn the Business Inabox trailer into a mobile billboard by wrapping the outer surface with a large vinyl sheet with an advertisement or the company's own livery.
"In terms of flexibility, it gives you the best of both worlds. When you're staying overnight while you’re out on the road, you have the added security of being on the premises so to speak.
“Of all our products, this is my personal favourite because it is so incredibly versatile.”
Ms Williams was speaking as the farming union, NFU Cymru, came to pick up the latest Business Inabox trailer to roll off the production line. Once things start to get back to normal the exhibition unit will be heading for a series of shows and other events to promote the NFU and its services. Area secretary Merfyn Roberts said: “Our previous exhibition unit had been used for the last 10 or 15 years and was starting to show its age and was a bit dated.
“We decided that it was important that we fly the flag for Welsh farming so we wanted to have an exhibition unit that was fit for the next 10 or 15 years.
“There's a great affinity between NFU Cymru and Ifor Williams Trailers. We have very similar customers, including farmers, builders, tradespeople and the like.
“We very much wanted to support Ifor Williams Trailers because they support us and they're a great brand.
"This is an excellent, state-of-the-art trailer and we're very much looking forward to using it when things start opening up again in terms of events.
"This trailer is a custom-made product. The NFU team met with the designers from Ifor Williams Trailers and worked closely to create a bespoke product so it will be ideal for what we need it to do.”
Dafydd Jones and Samantha Williams (left) of IWT with NFU Cymru representatives. Picture: Mandy Jones
Joe Engebret with his new takeaway café on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland
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News » Spike in demand for trailers as firms think outside box