Northside hails transformative 2017 for awards sweep

By Rhys Handley, Monday 18 December 2017

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Northside Graphics has won its fourth business award in recent months: Best Online Company of the Year at the UTV Business Eye Awards.

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White (second from right): "The team is ready now for its Christmas break"

The Belfast-based digital printer also secured the coveted SME of the Year gong at this year's PrintWeek Awards in October, described by managing director Gary White as the "absolute highlight" of the company's year.

Its other awards were DigitalPrinter’s SME Business Initiative Award and Best Trade Supplier at the Irish Print Awards, both in November.

White added: “We always entered the PrintWeek Awards without expecting to win, given its broad national stage.

“To take home the prize over firms from all over the UK was just a joy – I was in shock for days and the whole team could not believe it.”

White said plans were now in motion for 2018 at Northside – which oversees the digitalprinting.co.uk and tradedigitalprint.co.uk brands – as the company gears itself up to increase its £4.5m turnover by £1m.

Having recently installed a fourth HP Indigo to support expansion, new hires are in the offing to increase the 49-member staff by up to 10 people. This will support a 24/7 production schedule and allow the company to begin delivering to European territories.

White said: “Currently, we are just dipping our toe in the European side of things to see how that will go. There is a lot of uncertainty about Northern Ireland’s place as Brexit goes on, but we are excited to see how we can make things work.

“Our other aim is to expand the range that we offer, whether that means more sizes or even new products that will further fulfil our customers’ needs.”

According to White, Northside was not prepared for an increase in demand and customer attention in 2016, but has stepped up to the plate across 2017 to end the year on a high.

“Compared to this time last year, we have seen an absolute transformation,” he said. “I feel like my team is much happier with the state of things and is now taking pride in our achievements across the year, ahead of a well-deserved Christmas break.

“It is very important to me that people come to work in a good state of mind, I don’t want anyone to be unhappy at work. Then we can get back to it strong next year.”

Northside currently operates from 1,350sqm premises which White said “will see us to the next £1m”, but expansion or relocation may be on the cards depending how well 2018 goes.

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