First 4 relocates in major expansion

Friday, May 20, 2022

First 4 Print Finishing is poised to move to a new facility that is more than five times the size of its existing factory.

Aerial view of the huge new First 4 facility in Great Harwood
Aerial view of the huge new First 4 facility in Great Harwood

The Blackburn business currently operates from a 2,800sqm site in Blackburn. 

Its new factory at Great Harwood a few miles to the east is 15,143sqm in size, and located close to the M65. 

The firm has acquired the site in a £3.5m investment that also includes two CMC 250 paper enclosing lines. 

Managing director David Nestor told Printweek that the formalities around the deal were completed yesterday afternoon (19 May), and he was absolutely delighted to have secured the huge new facility. 

“We’ve needed more space for a long time, because we handle some seriously large campaigns sometimes involving 50 million envelopes. Industrial space is in such short supply in the Preston district, so we jumped at this opportunity.”

Nestor said the location was also imperative. 

“It’s only a five minute drive for staff so that’s perfect, it was important to make sure staff could still get to work easily.”

The firm’s equipment and 70 employees will relocate to Great Harwood over the coming weeks, with full production in the firm’s new home scheduled for early July. Additional jobs are likely to be created due to the expansion. 

“It’s a phenomenal move for us and the best time of year to be able to relocate, ahead of the busy autumn schedule. Clients have welcomed the news,” Nestor added. 

“The new site has various buildings of different sizes so that also give us flexibility. We can have a bowling alley in one and go karting in another!” he quipped.

Nestor said the CMCs were sourced from Europe via a used machinery specialist. 

“Paper enclosing is a service that’s in so much demand, it’s a growing side of the business for us,” he explained. 

The new site was previously owned by a nationwide sportswear distributor and has high bay storage facilities with the capacity to store 20,000 pallets. This gives First 4 the scope to offer new services, and the firm is planning to launch a warehousing and distribution division.

First 4 Print Finishing provides a range of post-press services including door drops and direct mail, as well as data processing. It runs a huge range of equipment including stitching and inserting, paper enclosing, banding, miniature folding, polywrapping, continuous stationery, and personalisation. 

Nestor said the £3m turnover business had been “phenomenally” busy, even during Covid. The business was highly commended in the SME of the Year category at this year's Printweek Awards. 

Local MP Sara Britcliffe commented: “I welcome the news of the relocation to Hyndburn, bringing more jobs to our local area and I wish them every success in our community. I look forward to seeing First 4 Print Finishing flourish and grow in Great Harwood.”

First 4’s old site has been purchased by a neighbouring business that needed space for expansion.

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