A specialist Durham-based military collectable and kit company, is marching to success, thanks to a Covid recovery grant from Open North Foundation.

The £1,255 donation to Military Incorporated will enable additional security measures at its warehouse and shop in Langley Park, which it moved to in February 2021.

Just before the pandemic struck in early 2020, Phil McCready made the bold decision to leave the motor industry and turn the hobby, he took up as a seven-year-old, into a business.

Phil, said: “I had been collecting military items for over 30 years and one day I decided to turn it in to a business so, in November 2019, I made that dream a reality.

“Growing up around the soldiers guarding Windsor Castle, gave me access to the British military from a young age and I was fascinated from the off, it’s a life time passion that has turned in to one of the fastest growing military businesses in the UK, if not Europe.

“Just prior to the pandemic we had a clear marketing plan in place and much of that involved attending fairs and other relevant community events where we could promote the business. That, suddenly, became impossible, when stringent Covid-19 restrictions were put in place and this had a huge impact on our plans. However, we developed a much more outward facing on-line presence and we have steadily recovered. Our warehouse and shop have a growing footfall of customers and we have on-line customers for all over the world.

“Our goal is to become the largest military collectables and kit company in the world, and we’re well on track to be that company.

“The grant from Open North Foundation is very much appreciated. The last two years have been a massive learning curve for myself and the grant is not just great news for the business but is evidence that very experienced and knowledgeable people from within the business community are confident we are taking the business in the right direction. Given that this is my first business venture, that is very reassuring news.”

Open North Foundation was established in July 2020 and is a direct response from the business community in the North East to provide financial and in-kind support to small businesses in the region directly hit by the pandemic. It relies on the generosity of companies and organisations to provide donations and has a structure of a board of directors, ambassadors and supporters, all of whom provide their services free of charge.

Paul Shields, a director of Open North Foundation and partner with accountants, Azets, said: “It is wonderful to see how Phil has turned his hobby in to a very credible business with customers across the globe. All applications for grant funding are very robustly examined and the panel were very impressed with Phil’s management of the firm and ambitious plans for growth. We are aware the firm is looking to employ staff in the near future and knowing that we have played a small part in allowing that to happen will be a moment of great celebration for the directors, ambassadors and supporters of Open North Foundation.”