Both commercial printers had been based at the same unit, but operated separately, in Wakefield Road since last October when Claremon moved into Wheelden's premises.
However, after being impacted by tightened cashflow, family-run Wheelden appointed Raymond Claughton of Rushtons Insolvency on 20 April, with the loss of all 13 jobs at the company.
Following the appointment of the liquidators, Claremon quickly moved to sell its own five-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster and secure bank support to buy Wheelden’s equipment. The asset purchase completed before the end of the April.
With the support of its new equipment and expanded capabilities, Claremon has set sights on adding nine new members of staff to its currently eight-strong team. According to Claremon owner John Conroy, “50%-60%” of those new additions will be former employees of Wheelden.
“Reemploying some former Wheelden staff makes perfect sense, given that they would be taking on jobs and customers that they already have experience with,” said Conroy.
“There are a couple of ways the new equipment will allow Claremon to move forward – it will allow us a quicker turnaround, our output quality will improve and it grants us a broader spectrum of the jobs we can take on.
“Our priority is making sure Wheelden’s former customers come back into the fold and, so far, they have been supportive. It is a shame to see Wheelden go under as we worked very closely with them to the end, and we hope to help save a few jobs as we expand.”
Among the raft of equipment £1m-turnover Claremon acquired from Wheelden is a five-colour Komori Lithrone S29 B2 press that will serve as the primary press on the 465sqm premises. Claremon also added a Heidelberg Cylinder letterpress, a Muller Martini stitching line, an MBO folder and a Screen CTP to its roster.
Working alongside Wheelden’s kit, Claremon already runs a Heidelberg platen for die-cutting and block foiling, its own MBO folder and a Polar guillotine.
Conroy said that his company would continue to target customers whose businesses and franchises operate on multiple sites where consistency is required across printed materials.
“We have cut ourselves a real niche supporting these kinds of businesses that we want to explore further,” he said.
Claremon produces brochures, direct mail and leaflets for a nationwide customer base. It will conduct all business with former Wheelden clients under its own name.