The Geneva group manufacture high quality brass instruments and saxophones from their operational base right here on the Terry Dicken business park. I met with passionate CEO, Tim Oldroyd to find out more.
In an old fashioned town
Originally from York and brought up in Malton, Tim’s passion for music began when he learned to play the cornet in his local Salvation Army band.
As the founder and owner of Geneva, it was his dream to link his own passion to a historic centre of excellence, so in 2000 the Geneva Group was born. There are a team of 7 based in Stokesley where all of the Geneva prototypes are made.
But did you know that brass and woodwind instrument making first appeared in the Czech city of Kraslice as far back as the 17th century?
“History has shown that the best instruments in the world were built in the Czech Republic. You’ll find the world’s oldest factory there which has been making instruments since 1840. Also home to the most skilled workforce in the industry, that’s why we decided to manufacture our products there. With over 50 employees in the region, we’re harnessing that talent to produce the best quality brass instruments and saxophones in the world”
That wonderful sound
So we have the quality instruments, we now need the musicians. I asked Tim who his ideal customer would be.
“Brass bands and jazz musicians are our ideal customers. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or a professional musician. Our products do have a higher price tag than some on the market but that’s due to the high quality, and they make a great investment.”
An impressive roll call of exemplary musicians use the Geneva range and Tim couldn’t be prouder.
“The best part of my job is producing an instrument from sheet metal to seeing it being played at the Royal Albert Hall. It’s such a nice legacy to leave. I’m very proud of what we produce. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to see some of the world’s finest musicians playing our instruments. Such as the most famous brass band in the world, The Black Dyke Band. But it’s not just brass bands, talent across all genres of music use the Geneva range. Tom Jones, Jamiroquai, Rudimental, and Jamie Cullen are prime examples.”
Don’t stop the music
The performing arts is one of the industries to be hardest hit by the covid pandemic.
“Like many industries, the pandemic has been massively devastating for the arts. We’ve had to adapt and change the way that we work to focus more on the overseas market and the retail sector. During lockdown we heavily promoted our ‘Try before you buy’ offer. It’s relatively easy for us to put an instrument together, set it up then send it via a courier direct to the customer. We’re effectively selling a passion with a price tag between £2000-£10,000 so we want to give our domestic customers the opportunity to try the product out in the safety of their own home. We’ve had a high success rate with this approach and it helps support our retailers. Thankfully we are now starting to see some green shoots in the UK market.”
Feel the Love
“Our industry will be redundant without new talent coming through. I believe that as a manufacturer we have a responsibility to support the development of that talent, without boundaries.
So we’ve created the Geneva Foundation.
Its primary focus today is to support UK Brass Banding in recruiting and tutoring the next generation of brass musicians to maintain our rich heritage of UK Brass Banding. We want to be able to support less privileged kids to learn to play instruments. The foundation supports with instruments, with the artists who deliver the education, and then eventually with placement into bands once they’re out of the foundation.”
This impressive initiative is only 6 weeks old and has already supported 5 young people.
Geneva Group have been on the Terry Dicken Business Park for over a decade.
“We started with a small unit on the industrial estate and when we needed more room, moved to a self-contained building on Roseberry Court. Needing more space, we’re now situated on Ellerbeck Way. Mark & Sue are the best landlords that you could wish to have. Nothing has ever been a problem and they are there for you through good and bad. We used to have a place in Stockton. Just trying to get out of it was a nightmare. It’s so reassuring knowing your landlords have morals and credibility.”
Whether you need to up or downsize, the Terry Dicken Business Park is the place to be!
Looking for brass instruments or saxophones? The Geneva Group can be found at Geneva House, 18 Ellerbeck Way, Terry Dicken Business Park, Stokesley, North Yorkshire, TS9 5JZ
Further details on how to apply for the Geneva Foundation can be found on their website