Talk Design & Print acquires Zest

Richard Stuart-Turner
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Talk Design & Print has acquired commercial printer Zest’s assets and goodwill.

The Basingstoke-based design and print specialist finalised the deal to take over Eastbourne-based Zest last Wednesday (29 August).

Nicky Peebles, who co-owns and manages Talk Design & Print alongside husband Alistair, told PrintWeek: “Talk Design & Print is part of the UK Design & Print Network, a group of about 65 independent design and print businesses who are all ex-Kall Kwik/Prontaprint franchises from days gone by.

“The network was set up so that we could all stay in touch. We had met Zest owner Julie Banks through its various conferences and knew her quite well.

“Julie had been running Zest for nearly 40 years and she approached us because the business had unfortunately lost its biggest account, through no fault of its own. The customer had been taken over by an American corporation that wanted to change the way things were done.

“Losing that account meant that what was left wasn’t enough to keep Zest running as a standalone business.”

She added: “This all happened very quickly for Julie and so she came to us as she knew we were keen to grow and asked us if we were interested.

“We thought about it because we were actually looking to try to acquire a local print business and hadn’t thought about going further afield. But we decided to give it a whirl and see how it goes because it’s not often that you get the opportunity to acquire a business like this.”

Zest’s Eastbourne base had been approaching the end of its lease and the site has now been closed, with the firm’s Konica Minolta bizhub Press C1060 moved up to Basingstoke.

Banks is no longer with the company, although is still in touch with Talk Design & Print during the transition phase, but one member of Zest’s staff – Gerry Pierce, who has worked for the business for 37 years – has been taken on by Talk Design & Print under a new contract, increasing the company’s headcount to seven.

Pierce will work remotely from her home in Eastbourne to continue servicing Zest’s clients.

Talk Design & Print already operates a Xerox Color J75, a Canon iR 7105 mono printer, an HP DesignJet Z6 and a Roland DG VersaCamm VS-540i on the large-format side, and a raft of finishing kit.

“Zest’s core business was actually black and white digital print, which is not something we do a lot of at Talk, so we thought that could fill up a bit of production on our black machine and give us different types of work to look at,” said Peebles.

“And on the large-format side we print everything in-house, whereas Zest used to outsource that. There was just a nice crossover of similar work that we felt we could comfortably integrate into our business quickly and easily, but also an opportunity to perhaps sell to Zest’s clients some of our other services. So long-term I think there is opportunity for growth there.”

The turnover of the two businesses was undisclosed and a decision on whether Zest’s branding will be retained going forwards has yet to be made.

Talk Design & Print started life as two Kall Kwik franchises, in Winchester and Newbury, in 2004. Newbury was a small satellite centre that was eventually closed down. The business broke away from Kall Kwik in 2011 and rebranded.

It had to leave its 172sqm Winchester site last year, as landlords wanted to convert the building to residential flats, and it moved into its new 242sqm premises in Basingstoke in October 2017.

The larger unit has enabled the business to accommodate its planned growth and take on different types of work.

“Our premises here has a roller shutter door which enables us to do vehicle wraps – in the past we had to outsource that element as we didn’t have the facility in-house to do that,” said Peebles, who added future acquisitions are a possibility.

“We’ve been looking for about a year for a local opportunity, but nothing has really come up that’s been suitable. We’re looking for something fairly small that will integrate easily into our existing business without growing it too quickly.

“We will probably keep an eye out for the future though – we’ll give this acquisition until the end of the year and see how successful it has been and if it is a real success then we will potentially start looking at businesses further away.”

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