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From humble beginnings to printing fit for Royalty

By Brentwood Gazette  |  Posted: May 17, 2012

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WHEN Barry Scarborough started a small printing business from his garage, little did he imagine that one day his company's work would be read by the Royal Family.

The Printing Place is now well-established as one of the leading print firms in the region, but it started from humble beginnings.

Barry's interest in the print trade began when he ran antiques fairs in his spare time, and found he was spending lots of money having flyers and posters printed. Eventually, he bought a table-top printing press and installed it in his garage. Before long Barry realised he had a passion for print and started up his own business, The Printing Place. The company started off in a "shed" in Witham, then moved to retail premises in Victoria Road, Chelmsford. After a few years, Barry wanted to expand the commercial arm of the business.

"I tried to get the message across that we were more than just a copy shop but it was hard," Barry said.

"In the end we had to give up the retail front side of the business and we moved to much larger premises on Widford Industrial Estate – where we are today.

"We have expanded and added extra facilities and the business is doing really well."

Now The Printing Place employs 30 staff and produces everything from business cards to high-end, glossy brochures for prestigious antiques houses and a cosmetics giant.

It also prints the newsletter for the War Widows Association – of which Prince Charles is the patron – and the publication is read by the Royal Family.

Some of The Printing Place's many clients include Citizens Advice Bureau, Age UK, the NHS, Essex County Council, Chelmsford City Football Club, Farleigh Hospice, and it is the only local, approved printers for Chelmsford Borough Council.

Recently, The Printing Place invested in a new digital printing press, meaning the value of equipment in their premises is now more than £2 million.

The company has also taken on new staff – something which bucks the trend of many printing firms still feeling the effects of the recession.

"One of the reasons for our continued success is that we have constantly branched out and expanded what we do," Barry explained.

"We are embracing digital print and we also do signs and banners.

"We have a comprehensive design studio on site so we can see the entire process through from beginning to end.

"When a customer has an idea of what they want to achieve they can either send us an e-mail or bring us a piece of paper with their ideas, or we are always happy to visit them."

The company supports several local charities by providing competitively priced products for their printing needs.

"We are a local company and we employ local people," said sales director Peter Symonds. "We like to put something back."

The Printing Place also sponsors the Essex Enterprising Business category in the Essex Business Excellence Awards.

"We like to support the awards because it is the companies in this area that are responsible for helping to keep a vibrant business community going, and we are looking forward to receiving entries from Essex Chronicle and Brentwood Gazette readers," Peter added.

"We know we are going against the trend by expanding at the moment," Barry said.

"We are looking to take on yet more staff and we are going from strength to strength."

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