Directors become owners at West Port as founder retires

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Friday 14 December 2018

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West Port Print & Design founder Terry Scanlon is retiring and has handed ownership of his St Andrews business to two existing directors.

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Retiring founder Terry Scanlon (L) with Stephen and Claire Simpson

Stephen Simpson joined the commercial printer in 1997 and became a director in 2008 while his wife, Claire Simpson, works in the graphic design and artwork side of the business. The pair will gradually purchase a larger stake in the company over the next few years.

“It was always part of the plan for us to buy the business, it was just about when the right moment was going to be, and Terry decided at the start of 2018 that he would call it a day at the end of the year,” said Stephen Simpson.

“His legacy in building West Port Print & Design to the high standing it now enjoys now has to be acknowledged as a phenomenal achievement. Claire and I have a very hard act to follow, but we’re keen to build on the reputation we’re inheriting.”

He added: “We’ve agreed a sale figure with Terry and – profits all going well – we will hopefully pay him off over the next five years. After that point my wife and I will own 100% of the business.”

Scanlon will continue to own the company’s premises, with the Simpsons leasing the building from him.

“It’s a mixture of pressure and excitement. I’ll be doing more or less what I’ve been doing for the last 20 years but it takes on a different feel when the responsibility is 100% on your shoulders. But we’re excited to get on and make a few tweaks here and there to the business,” said Simpson.

“In the short term we’ll look at restructuring the staffing responsibilities, to free me up a bit more so that I can be more involved on the marketing and sales side, as opposed to dealing with the day-to-day stuff.”

Alongside its sister company, Formlink, a print broker that West Port bought around five years ago, the two businesses turn over around £1m in total.

On the litho side West Port operates a Ryobi 524 four-colour press as well as a two-colour and two single-colour machines, also from Ryobi. It also runs a Ricoh Pro C7100 digital printer and Epson large-format kit.

Scanlon, who has worked in the print industry for 54 years, established the business in 1983 with two staff and one small single-colour press. The company bought its first full-colour press in 1997 and since then has expanded to a staff of 12 who predominantly serve local brands including R&A, St Andrews Links Trust and the Old Course and Fairmont hotels.

Scanlon said he will spend his retirement travelling to Portugal with his wife, Catherine, where he enjoys golf, cycling and eating fresh fish by the sea.

He said: “It has been a blast for 54 years. The changes in technology have been unbelievable. I must thank all my staff for their hard work and my customers for their loyal support over the years. I hope they’ll support Stephen and Claire just as much.”

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