Family-run commercial printer Carly Press has acquired a local digital specialist to expand its service offering and client base.


Colourtone operates from a 700sqm site in Taunton

The Wellington, Somerset-based business completed its acquisition of Colourtone, which is based around five miles away in Taunton, on 1 February.

Two of Colourtone’s three directors, husband and wife Richard and Elaine Goring, will retire at the end of February after a handover period, while the firm’s third director, Keith Phillips, will stay on for another six to 12 months to manage sales at the site.

Carly Press managing director Mark Gladstone-Smith told PrintWeek: “We’ve been to-ing and fro-ing between each other for a while now, but it wasn’t a good fit for us at the time.

“Colourtone’s directors, who are now due for retirement, approached me again around nine months ago and opened up conversations again. I gave the business some serious thought, looking deeply into their financials and client base and the spread of work and decided it was a positive strategic move to take on the company.”

Colourtone will continue to trade as a separate entity, with Carly Press as its parent company, and will retain its existing corporate identity.

“Keeping the branding is key to making sure that there is continuity for clients and maintaining a reputation that has been forged over a number of years,” said Gladstone-Smith.

“Keith will run that site and I’ve got a team running the other site, so I’ll be between the two overseeing the day-to-day and sales and trying to grow the business even further.”

Colourtone serves commercial clients in the building, housing and commercial property sectors and runs three Ricoh digital production printers, a Roland DG wide-format printer and finishing kit including guillotines, saddle-stitchers and folders.

Carly Press, meanwhile, serves local and national customers from its 280sqm premises including schools, charities and the motor industry.

It runs four Ricoh digital production printers and two HP Latex wide-format printers and offers in-house laminating, die-cutting, folding and lamination. Last year the business installed two Horizon machines and Vpress’ Coreprint Pro web-to-print software.

“Carly Press are very big in large-format, so we’ll be able to offer a lot more vehicle signage, exhibition graphics and general large-format work to Colourtone’s clients. It’s something they actually have too but they don’t push it. But it’s one of the biggest parts of Carly Press so we’ll be trying to grow that even further with the Colourtone client base,” said Gladstone-Smith.

“They do a lot of print storage and fulfilment for their clients. With our web-to-print platform we can streamline how Colourtone’s clients call off stock and order print, which is a real positive.”

Colourtone’s 11 staff will all be kept on and will remain based at the company’s current 700sqm Taunton site, which is owned by the departing directors and will now be leased by Carly Press.

Prior to the acquisition Carly Press had 16 staff and a turnover of around £1.2m. Gladstone-Smith said he estimates that the now 27-strong group should turn over around £2.1m for the current financial year and is seeking further acquisitions in the South West during 2019.

Carly Press was named after Gladstone-Smith’s sister Carly who was born the year his grandfather launched the company in 1982. Father Graeme handles large-format work and mother Kim oversees accounts.


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