Keeping coffee in the family

In 1964, when Birmingham engineer Frank Maxwell began making coffee machines in his garden shed, he couldn’t have imagined that his hobby would become one of the region’s most successful manufacturing companies.

Forty-five years later the 23-strong team at Fracino, the UK’s sole manufacturer of cappuccino and espresso machines, is raising cups to its newest company trainee: Frank Maxwell’s granddaughter, Rebecca.

The 19-year-old’s appointment means that there are now three generations of Maxwells at Fracino. Founder Frank is the company’s chairman; his son Adrian – Rebecca’s father – was the firm’s technical director for two decades and is now Fracino’s MD. Adrian’s wife Marion is the credit controller.

Rebecca Maxwell, formerly a supervisor for Druckers Viennese Coffee Bars, will now follow in her family’s footsteps, working on the Fracino assembly line and learning about every aspect of the thriving family business, from product development to aftersales support.

Adrian Maxwell said: “Rebecca has been coming out in the vans with us since she was 14 months old, and she has made a few thousand lattes in her time. She is a hard worker, she is bubbly and she is great at sales, so we are all excited about having her on board.

“I suppose you could say that coffee runs in the Maxwells’ blood!”

Commented Rebecca: “I have had a passion for coffee for as long as I can remember. I am thrilled to be following a very special family tradition, and I hope to play my own part in our business’ continued success.”

The arrival of a third-generation Maxwell is the latest milestone in a series of successful developments for the Witton-based company. Production has risen by 20 per cent in 2009, and the company’s expanded portfolio features 55 products.

Earlier this year Fracino’s fully-automated Cybercino espresso and cappuccino machine was a winner in The Caterer and Hotelkeeper Equipment & Supplies Excellence Awards 2009. The sleek machine combines retro styling with state-of-the-art technology.

Other developments include expansion into the Middle Eastern market through a deal with distributor Bartechco, a leading supplier of bar accessories and equipment in the region. Fracino has also received its first orders from the Indian sub-continent, with units waiting to be shipped to Bangladesh and Pakistan.