Gardners owner unveils new name for buy-and-build group

Rhys Handley
Monday, September 9, 2019

Hexcite Group has been launched as the new £60m-turnover unifying brand identity of Gardners, Kesslers and SFD, which were recently brought together in a series of acquisitions.

Frost: "We want to deliver customer experiences that go way beyond clients' expectations"
Frost: "We want to deliver customer experiences that go way beyond clients' expectations"

UK private equity fund Elaghmore started to form the group by acquiring Cardiff-based wide-format printer Gardners in May this year. The fund already owned display manufacturer Kesslers in London following a 2017 acquisition and subsequently completed the trio by taking on Watford-based creative agency SFD in 2019.

Sales and marketing director Daniel Astarita said the new name combines the implications of strength, due to hexagons being nature’s strongest shape, and its phonetic similarity to ‘excite’.

The name was chosen in a vote by more than 300 staff across the group.

Astarita said: “Everything we do at the group is about creating exciting spaces and campaigns. We are looking to run an efficient operation as all three business are already performing well.

“We have talked for a while now about being able to offer a complete end-to-end POS service and now, we are in a position to approach brands and retailers to fulfil all of their needs for physical displays. There is genuinely nothing we cannot do.

“People should feel they can come to us because of our knowledge and expertise, and we are now going to start running workshops and talking to people about our vision. We want to be a thought-provoking brand that people think of in this marketplace.”

For now, all three components of the group will continue to carry their own brand names and approach clients with the understanding that they are ‘powered by Hexcite’, according to Astarita. Discussions around plans for collective branding are still ongoing.

Hexcite’s printing facilities are almost exclusively based at Gardners’ 7,400sqm site, although Kesslers also has some capabilities in flatbed and roll-to-roll printing at its visual branch in Leicester. The group also runs an in-house design agency called Create.

Rather than a centralised headquarters, the Hexcite entity will operate out of all its premises.

The group is headed up by chief executive Matthew Frost, who joined in June from management roles at brands such as Asda and Waitrose.

He said: “Ultimately, we understand that brands and retailers care about protecting the livelihoods of the people who work in retail and want to deliver customer experiences that go way beyond their expectations.

“The ambition of Hexcite is to further develop our proposition by making full use of technology as well as anonymous data capture at the shelf edge. This can be used to drive customer conversion, increase transactional value and improve consumer insight.

“We will evolve our business to support this and to meet the constantly changing needs of customers.”

Following the announcement and a celebration with staff and partners, which took place on Thursday (5 September), Hexcite will now be following up with clients one-to-one.

A ‘heavy’ brand launch is set for the Euroshop retail expo in Düsseldorf next February, at which Astarita said the group will unveil “something amazing that has never been seen before”. Its website is set to launch later this month.

With global sales and procurement teams based in the UK, France, Poland, China and Australia, the Hexcite Group brings in sales of more than £60m.

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