Leeds-based signage specialist Widdsigns moved to the borough in January after completing the takeover of Spectrum Sign & Display Ltd, safeguarding 17 jobs and creating a further four, with scope for significant job growth in the next few years.
Turning over more than £16m a year, Widdsigns have a hugely impressive client base, providing signage for a number of renowned retail giants including Marks & Spencer and Primark.
Even before moving to its new 20,000 sq ft site on the Reginald Road Industrial Estate in Sutton, senior directors of the company struck up a good working relationship with St Helens Council’s Economic Development team, which is trying to help support the company grow even more.
Adam Sanderson, an Economic Development Officer for St Helens Council, was introduced to Widdsigns by Invest Liverpool, and assisted with their move to the St Helens area and has helped identify funding opportunities.
He has also put Widdsigns in touch with the council’s Ways to Work team – which looks to secure employment opportunities for local people – to fill vacant positions, ranging from CAD designers to paint sprayers.
“We’ve got big plans for the place,” said Managing Director Gary Williams, pointing out a £50,000 investment already on new heaters for the factory and spray booth.
“We had a desire to expand – we could instantly see the potential in the area, we could see the potential of the business (Spectrum) – so we did the deal, and we’re off.”
Gary added: “We’re up to 21 staff now with the need for a handful more, and that will only grow.
“Considering we’ve only been here three weeks, we’ve made a good start but we’re nowhere near where we want to be – so it’s great to have the support of St Helens Council.”
St Helens Council Leader David Baines and its Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration & Housing, Councillor Richard McCauley, were recently invited down for a tour of the factory to meet the team and see first-hand the specialist projects Widdsigns work on, including manufacturing graphics for the world-famous Aintree Grand National Festival in April.
Cllr Baines said: “For such a successful city-based company to choose St Helens as the place to grow and take business to the next level really speaks volumes about St Helens being seen as the place to be for economic activity – especially when it comes to industries such as manufacturing – and we will do everything we can to support them.”
Cllr McCauley added: “It’s clear to see the positive impression Widdsigns have made in such a short space of time, investing not only in the business side but the workers too, who seem really happy and enthusiastic about their work and future prospects.”
Established in 1888, Widdsigns employ more than 60 staff across its Leeds and St Helens sites, with plans to create more positions in St Helens by basing its sales and marketing team in the borough in the near future.