A BUSINESS based in Beaminster is a role model to other small business and start-ups across the county.

That was the view of West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin after visiting Clipper Teas when he was taken on a tour of the factory to see how investment in the company was helping them to meet growing demand.

The company, founded in 1984 by local couple Mike and Lorraine Brehme in their Dorset kitchen, was taken over by Netherlands-based Wessanen in March, 2012 and they invested £1million into the business in 2012 to cope with growing demand.

West Dorset District Council also invested £100,000 to keep the business in Beaminster.

Mr Letwin said: “This business can act as a real role model to other small businesses locally or to people who might be thinking of starting their own business.

“I remember talking to the previous owners who had founded the business and what it proves is a bit of a magic spark and a lot of hard work can lead to an incredibly successful business.

“I have been very impressed with what I’ve seen today, it’s terrific.

“It is also refreshing to see that the increased automation aspect of the production has not hindered jobs and has actually built new jobs in the company, which will allow it to expand even further over time.

“They are producing delicious teas and supporting local jobs and above all else that is one of my main concerns, that there are more jobs in the area that are available to my constituents.”

Mr Letwin also said he was pleased West Dorset District Council were committed to keeping the business in Beaminster.

Mr Letwin said: “It is very important to keep this business and similar business in the area, and to maintain the manufacturing industry in West Dorset.

“It is very good to see the company expanding and I hope it continues to do so in years to come.

“It was great to see that West Dorset District Council could help with keeping this successful business here in the district.

“The quality of life is high in West Dorset and we have to ensure West Dorset retains the land and the facilities to help when business are growing to keep them here, and to also attract new businesses.”