ABC Imaging £750k Canon investment to fuel expansion

By Sarah Cosgrove, Tuesday 12 January 2016

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Central London-based digital printer ABC Imaging has decided on a £750,000 Canon spend as it expands after opening its first site outside the capital.


ABC Imaging's Farringdon headquarters

The business, which offers wide-format and commercial print as well as mailing services for a range of clients, including law and insurance firms, banks, marketing agencies and students, already operates a wide selection of Canon and Canon Océ production and wide-format print kit, as well as Duplo binders and cutters.

Chief executive Ray Hawkins told PrintWeek he will spend £750,000 between now and March on Canon printers, although the company has not finalised the deal. A key issue for the company is to ensure models can work with its Océ Prisma pre-press suite, rather than EFI Fiery.

“We will be saving money by spending that money,” Hawkins said, adding that he had not considered alternative brands.

“We were running Océ mainly when Canon took over. A lot of people there I’ve known since they were at Océ and I’ve grown up with them over the years. The relationship goes back 20 or 30 years.”

The company is happy to invest but is rapidly running out of space in its 920sqm print room in Farringdon. It opened a 186sqm site in Reading six weeks ago, where it moved existing kit: a Colorwave 300, an HP Designjet T2500 plus copiers.

The business is considering putting in a mezzanine floor to create more room in Farringdon and may also expand into another unit for wide-format work. In addition it is investing in a Zünd cutter, also within the next few months.

“I’ve got the work to have another roll-to-roll Océ Arizona but we don’t have anywhere to put it,” Hawkins said. “We’ve had this machine for six months. It's been really good for us and it's opened up new doors for us.

"We've recently printed 260 roller banners for one job, plus a futher 120, and we never would've done that without it. They are £100,000 a go but now we’ve put our toes into this market we are watching how much it grows. The market is getting better and better.” 

ABC Imaging, a trading name of Mediashore Limited, has seen sales grow from its traditional corporate clients and from its drop-in student market, which now brings in more than £400,000 a year.

After being overrun with students during busy periods, it set aside a small area with free tea and coffee and access to Wi-Fi and branded it a student cafe. Sales through this route are growing rapidly, rising £100,000 between the last two financial years.

“We’ve got five salesmen but our best sales people are our students. They join architects and marketing companies or whatever and they remember how we looked after them. They sit here with their laptops and do their work. In the summer we have four or five people on the counter and it’s carnage in here, we’ll have 200-300 students a day in the summer.”

The company has a turnover of around £4.1m and 40 staff, four of whom are in Reading. 

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