A family-run distribution company with plans to double its size in the next five years is this month's winner of the The Birmingham Post Business Award.
Aspray Transport, based at Willenhall, currently turns over £20 million a year and managing director Patrick Laight says he aims to increase that to £40 million by 2010.
During the same period the company's 437-strong workforce will probably grow by some 70 per cent and its fleet will expand from 300 to 450 vehicles if all goes to plan.
Aspray, which specialises in warehousing and distributing locallyproduced hardware products, has recently invested £8 million in a new hub at its headquarters in Noose Lane, Willenhall.
The project, which was backed by Lloyds TSB Corporate, features a £1.3 million conveyor system.
The new set up has allowed Aspray to increase volumes from 6,500 consignments a night to 15,000.
Mr Laight received the monthly Birmingham Post award at Simpsons restaurant in Edgbaston yesterday .
David Smith, managing director of award sponsor Churchill Vintners and chairman of the independent judging panel, described Aspray's growth record as "fantastic".
"Your activities and what you have achieved sum up what this award is all about," Mr Smith told Mr Laight.
Mr Laight, who gave up a chance to play professional football with Wolverhampton Wanderers to pursue a business career, founded Aspray Transport with just one vehicle and a small site in Bilston Lane, Willenhall, in 1982.
After studying chemical engineering at Aston University he worked for an animal feedstuffs company before branching out into the transport industry.
Aspray grew out of work that Mr Laight carried out for washing machine manufacturer Hotpoint.
"From serving their vans I went on to sell their second hand vehicles and that developed into warehousing," he said.
Aspray was named after his then partner.
"You can't run a transport spelled Laight and pronounced late," he said.
One of the company's first customers as the Willenhall lockmaker Josiah Parkes, at the time the largest company of its kind in Europe and owner of Chubb.
Aspray still has close contacts with the lock industry through its contract with Swedish group Assa Abloy, whose British subsidiary, Security Products, owns the Yale, Union and Chubb brands and whose Jaton subsidiary is the biggest distributor of fasteners in Britain.
"Between 85 per cent and 90 per cent of the products we distribute are manufactured locally," Mr Laight said.
Asked whether he thought his plan to double the size of the company in five years was ambitious, Mr Laight said: "What is the point of setting easy targets for yourself. I do not like doing things that are easy, besides, I think it is quite achievable."
Aspray is currently contending with a big increase in the price of diesel fuel, a growing cost that it cannot pass on to its customers in the current economic climate.
"We spend £2 million a year of fuel, which is a lot of money for a company of our size, and have seen a 15 per cent uplift in prices since the start of the year."
That's a trend Mr Laight sees continuing.
So his growth plans hinge on finding new customers while sticking close to his existing ones.
"I tell our customers 'I want your business, I want it for ever and I never want you to go to anyone else'.
"Our mission statement promises we will always deliver more more than we promise."
Aspray Transport now goes on to the next stage of the competition to find the The Business of Year award winner.
The main sponsors of the Birmingham Post Business Awards are Intercity Mobile Communications and Churchill Vintners in association with Champagne Taittinger.
British Airways and Aston Business School provide further support, along with Biz-tv, part of Aston Media at Aston University, which produces a business video of each monthly winner worth £2,500.