May 28, 2012

Hi-Tec vows to stay in Southend

THE boss of a world-famous sport shoe company has quashed rumours the business will move from its Southend site.

Frank van Wezel, chairman of Hi-Tec, a specialist sport footwear manufacturer, insists the company, which started from humble beginnings in Shoebury, is here to stay.

Mr van Wezel spoke out after he was made aware of false rumours circulating in Southend.

The company, which was made famous for its pioneering production of squash and tennis shoes, has expanded to international proportions and now has offices across Europe and America.

The company, based in Aviation Way employs 135 staff to run its UK head office.

Addressing rumours the company was moving to Amsterdam, Mr van Wezel, who lives in Thorpe Bay, said: “Southend still remains our headquarters for Hi-Tec UK, but 12 employees from the site went to set up an office in Amsterdam.

“The company has grown so much from when I set it up and it can still move with the times. I think as long as we continue to stay ahead of the game and make sure we are constantly evolving we will continue to succeed.”

As well as producing sports shoes, the company also makes specialist shoes for police forces, security staff and soldiers across the world.

After identifying a need for a specialist squash shoe, a young Mr van Wezel drew together the funding to set up his company on the Towerfield industrial estate in Shoebury in 1974.

He said: “My inkling took off like a shot and demand just grew from there.

“It is a family business. My son, Edward, is now the chief executive of the company and it has a new lease of life now Southend Airport has developed. I never thought when I set it up it would be as big as it is today. I take everything as it comes. I still work long hoursand have no intentions of slowing down.”

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