Born and raised on the Nunsthorpe Estate, Jay Burton is an engineer and business man who has not only built one of the area’s fastest growing businesses, but has dedicated time, money, and resources to help many, many people in the local community.
After leaving school, Jay took his first steps into the refrigeration industry. “On our last day of senior school, one of my close friends was walking home with me and I asked what he was going to do. He said he was looking at doing refrigeration, so I decided there and then that I was going to have a go at it too. I have actually only ever had one job before I started Coldstar Refrigeration, an apprenticeship with Hughes Refrigeration and I worked my way up over the next 14 years to the point where I ran all of the men. At the age of 30, I decided it was time to go into business myself, which was a huge step as I had only ever known one job.”
In 2012, Jay established Coldstar Refrigeration, where for the past 10 years he has created jobs for local people and helped the next generation of engineers to learn their trade and gain experience and confidence to become their own business leaders.
“Starting your own business sounds like a great idea but building a customer base and earning their trust is a completely different matter, but I always had my trade behind me. I was an experienced Refrigeration Engineer and that was something I felt contributed to my success. I still to this day like to get involved on the tools with my staff. Firstly, because I like to, but secondly to show them that any job I ask them to do, I can and will complete myself if required.”
“July 2022 marks Coldstar Refrigeration’s 10th Anniversary, which I am very proud of. Some of my staff have been with me from the beginning and some have even known me since I was an apprentice. Starting with two men, two vans, and my dining room table as a desk, to expanding into other sectors and starting up new businesses to compliment Coldstar. I am immensely proud that I have built a company that provides services all over the country. Although we are now a nationwide company, I am mostly grateful for the custom I get from the area and that factories, commercial properties, the leisure industry that I work with are keeping work local. We are now seeing the next generation of managers and business owners coming through and we are all supporting each other and working together, sharing contacts, and referring work. I plan to focus the next stage of my career on passing over my knowledge to the staff members and investing my time into our younger generation.”
Providing opportunities to Grimsby’s young people has always been a priority for Jay. “I worked my way up from the bottom, I completed all the jobs that an apprentice typically did, like washing the vans in the cold, getting sent to the suppliers for a long stand etc., so I can fully relate to all of our apprentices because I was one of them, just 24 years ago. These are the types of jobs that mold you as an engineer and as a person, and when I look back I was just grateful for the opportunity to work and earn money. I was given a chance at Hughes Refrigeration and at times I am sure I was close to being sacked due to my determined nature, but those qualities have also got me where I am today.
“I believe that the if the fundamentals are there in a person, i.e., good work ethic, punctuality, drive etc., the rest can be taught. It is my aim in the coming years to help shape and train the apprentices within our business as the industry itself isn’t as desirable as electricians, per say. This trade is overlooked by the young, but it is an industry which businesses cannot manage without and engineers within this field are on fantastic wages. Hopefully I will help guide and equip one of my apprentices enough to come through the ranks and set up on their own, as I did.”
Over the years, Jay has been able to help hundreds of people in the community. He has served food to homeless and vulnerable people, sponsored local sports clubs and athletes to support their talent, generously done repairs for local clubs for free, as well as getting involved in charitable events and donating money to worthwhile causes.
“Charity and community has been in my heart for many years. I am passionate about supporting my community and I have tried my best to make a positive difference to local charities. One of my first charity contributions was the annual Tea Gardens Bikeathon, where I support my wife and her family in raising money in memory of her late father to help the running on the Hydrotherapy Pool, Humberston.
“At this point I decided that as a company, I would always donate or volunteer to something that is either close to my heart, something I am passionate about, or where I could see physically how my time or donation had changed or helped someone. Volunteering has been as important to me as raising and donating funds to those in need. Myself and my good friend Mike Burton formed a great friendship through the common ground of charity and have supported charity events, volunteered at the food kitchen each Christmas, and worked with charities to help families in need over the past seven or eight years. I encourage anyone, not just businesses to give a few hours of their time per year to volunteer. I can guarantee what you get back from those few hours will be more than you ever do just sending donations each year. It is very rewarding.
“Finally, through my businesses and Mike’s own funds, we have created The Coldstar Foundation. The pot builds up throughout the year to enable us to put on a Christmas Giveaway, whereby the public nominate someone inspirational in their lives and suggest a gift they may like. We get hundreds of nominations and if we could donate prizes to all of them, we would, but unfortunately, we have the difficult job of filtering the list down to around six people. We cannot wait to do the same this year.
“The Coldstar Foundation’s sole aim is to support its community in a way the staff, leaders, and Coldstar family feel they would like to help those in need in our great communities. Ultimately, an amount of money you pledge to put into a pot to help the community, this is what you use to carry out the inspirational acts of kindness like the Christmas giveaway. In the future it would be great to get Coldstar customers and stakeholders to contribute towards this project foundation, so together we can make a greater positive impact in our local communities.
“Growing up on the Nunsthorpe was some of the best times of my younger life where I believe I learnt many of the life skills which have made me the person I am today, and with that I believe the sense of community and friendships I built that still endure today was a fantastic way to grow up and learn.”