Pureprint Group is to open a new client service office in New York, its first outside the UK, and has plans to open a site in Asia within the next 18 months.
The US office, which will initially be rented, is expected to open its doors by 1 January 2017. Pureprint will then spend the following months looking for a permanent site while it beds-in its new customer service offering. It currently takes around 10% of its sales from US clients.
The operation is being funded through a £5.3m investment from the Business Growth Fund (BGF), which has already enabled the acquisition of Newcastle-based Imprint as well as recent upgrades to its Uckfield, East Sussex premises.
The new office will start with around six people, half of whom will be hired locally in the US, with the remainder transferring from Pureprint UK. Pureprint managing director Richard Osborne will be heading up the operation, building and managing the team from the UK.
Chief executive Mark Handford said: “This is something we have been working on for a long time. We nearly did it a few years ago in a joint venture with a US business but decided it wasn’t the right time.
“We’ve had clients out there for the last 15 years and it has got to the point where we need people on the ground that can service these clients day-to-day. It should open up more business for us here in the UK too.”
Depending on the success of the US operation, Pureprint may also look to offer pre-media services for high-end clients in the US. Handford stressed that it is mainly being opened to service the needs of existing clients rather than as a means to attract new business.
The company initially considered offices in California, as it has two big clients there, before settling on New York, which Handford said would act more as a “halfway house” for US businesses.
“We are already doing a tremendous amount of work out there between September and Christmas and have had three staff out there scouting over the last month or so. I’ve never known so many people volunteer for a job internally in my life,” added Handford.
“At some point soon I can see one or two of our Asian clients wanting someone on the ground too. It’s almost like somebody needs to be there just to service those accounts.”
Elsewhere Handford said that the business would be investing around £1m in new kit for Imprint over the next few weeks.
Pureprint employs more than 400 staff, 250 at the Uckfield digital and litho sites, 130 in Imprint and a number spread around local offices.
It is on course to reach its projected £65m turnover target at the end of this year, an increase of approximately 10% on last year’s sales.