The three directors and formerly minority shareholders Clare Griffiths, Gary Spittlehouse and David Swaine bought former managing director Steve Turner’s 65% stake in the business ahead of his retirement, making the trio who have been with Elpeeko for 28, 35 and 35 years respectively, all equal shareholders.
The deal, which was facilitated by finance firm Independent Banking Professionals and a funding package from HSBC, was completed at the end of April.
According to Griffiths, who is a graphic designer by trade and Elpeeko’s art director, the move signals the start of a new era of investment and potential expansion for the seven-staff business.
“We are looking forward to driving the business forward, it’s now a case of what we want to do first,” she said. “We’ve taken on some new clients and we are concentrating on driving our sales, but we are looking at some investments too.”
Founded in 1905 and known as the Lincoln Printing Company until the 1920s, Elpeeko provides a range of services from its 325sqm Lincoln facility, including web and multimedia design, wide-format graphics and displays, litho work and short-run digital jobs on everything from business cards up to 500pp catalogues.
The company runs a Heidelberg GTO and on the digital side a Xerox device, which Griffiths said was set to be replaced in the next month, potentially with a move to Konica Minolta, although she said talks were still ongoing.
“We want to improve turnaround time and quality and we need something that is faster and able to handle the workload that we have these days. The Xerox is fine and does its job but with the amount of enquiries we’re getting, we need to take that leap.”
Griffiths said the business would consider developing its litho offering further down the line, but that the trio didn’t want to tackle too much too soon.
Elpeeko also runs three Epson wide-format devices, the latest of which was installed around five months ago, servicing the display graphics and giclée printing side of the business. “We are really going to push that side of the business as it’s relatively new and get our message out there, which is perhaps something we’ve not done as a business before,” she said.
“We are a personal business and very much believe in talking directly with our customers but we do know we have to move with the times so we’ve developed a social media presence and will be launching a new website soon too that will build a better picture of who we are and what we can offer," Griffiths said.
"I feel we are on the upturn and we are very happy and excited about the road ahead," she added.