A Furness firm is celebrating after beating the recession and recording profits again for the first time in several years.

Mike Armstead, managing director of home scent specialists Wax Lyrical, in Lindal-in-Furness, believes the business can make the jump to the next level after he engineered a spectacular u-turn in its fortunes.

He has real faith in the local workforce, having just taken on 25 new staff members and invested £1 million in the London Road site. It means 80 per cent of the company’s products are now manufactured in the UK and the hugely successful launch of Jelly Belly branded candles means the firm is ready to continue growing.

When Mr Armstead took over in January 2007, Colony Candles, as it was known, was £40m in debt and losing £4.5m a year.

The company is now looking forward to its products being sold by retail giant Argos for the first time and featuring in the new catalogue.

“We are not complacent,” he said. “We should be incredibly proud that we have turned it around in the biggest recession since the 1930s but we are not out of the storm yet.”

Mr Armstead believes the recent name change to Wax Lyrical will help the firm’s fortunes.

“The reception we’ve had so far has been fantastic. Around the Furness peninsula everyone knows Colony Candles, but in London they have never heard of it.

“But they know Wax Lyrical, because even if they don’t know the firm, the phrase is common parlance, so they think they know it. I am confident that we will look back in ten years and say this really changed things.”

The investment in the factory is the first in about seven years and should help improve on the fact that tills ring 10 million times a year with Wax Lyrical products.

Mr Armstead believes his dedicated team of 180 staff are key to the turnaround and has presented each of them with a specially made giant luxury candle and snuffer set in a luxurious presentation box.

“It marks the 30th anniversary and is a thank you to everyone for the contribution they have made for getting the business back to good health.”