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Apprenticeships for growth

When the management of Worcestershire-based Blue Print Direct Mail set its eyes on a new period of growth for the business, nearly six years ago, it was to form part of a bigger picture.

Business Inspection: Make a strong recovery

In the late noughties, Mark Gray was running a profitable Manchester print business producing educational material, but with the market flagging due to new technological capabilities in schools, Gray was on the lookout to join forces with another print entity in a bid to combine offers and diversify.

Combining new and traditional techniques

Surface Print lies in the small industrial village of Clayton-le-Moors just outside Accrington, Lancashire. Founded 30 years ago by John Watson, whose father and grandfather had both etched their careers in the wallpaper printing industry, the business now boasts a 70-strong workforce led by Watson’s children James and Abigail.

Keep it in the family

In 2004 the sales manager of the then named Bristol-based Baronial Labels, Paul Stokes, undertook a management buyout of the business along with his co-workers.

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