A new museum to showcase the engineering heritage of Ripon-based manufacturer Econ has been opened by local MP Julian Smith.
The world’s first ‘gritter museum’ will be a permanent showroom for fully restored vintage road maintenance vehicles, gritters, spreaders and snowploughs, as well as brand new state of the art equipment manufactured by the Yorkshire firm.
The £25m turnover family-owned manufacturer was established in 1969. The Ripon factory now employs over 190 staff, manufacturing 12 new road mending and clearing vehicles every week.
Econ director Andrew Lupton said: “We have been manufacturing commercial vehicles here on this site for two generations, and we take great pride in our craftsmanship and engineering heritage.”
The new museum will also be used as a showroom for the firm’s newest state of the art vehicles and has been equipped with the latest AV and presentation equipment to enable the firm to host events for local business and trade bodies, as well as training seminars for staff and apprentices.
Lupton added: “We use vehicle restoration projects as an important part of our training for the 20 or so apprentices we train at any time, and it will be great to be able to showcase some of the vehicles in a permanent facility.”
The new facility, which was officially opened on Friday, will house past and present Econ vehicles, providing a permanent display for prospective customers.
“Our order book is growing, and we supply around half of the UK market for winter maintenance vehicles. With the addition of the new museum and showroom, we have even better facilities here to showcase new products and to help us win more new contracts,” said Lupton.