We love it when businesses send us their good news and here’s our latest good news round-up, kindly sponsored by PALADIN. Awards, expansion, new contracts or new appointments, if you’ve got some good news you want to share please email the editor, Martin Shaw, on martin@huddersfieldhub.co.uk.

A Huddersfield signage company is marking 20 years in business by announcing a takeover by two long-standing employees.

Keven Mitchell has been director of FASTSIGNS Huddersfield for almost five years, but as the company enters its milestone 20th anniversary, he is handing over the keys to Harry Latham, production manager, and Simon Meehan, centre manager.

Keven is stepping back from his position – a move that was part of the business’s wider strategy when he acquired it in 2018.

Simon has over three decades’ worth of experience in the signage industry, working with high-street roll-outs to bespoke creations. He began at FASTSIGNS Huddersfield 10 years ago, starting in sales and customer relations, working on the shop floor and installing signage. He’s built a strong relationship with customers across the community.

Harry, a digital signage specialist, has been at FASTSIGNS Huddersfield for five years and works closely with Simon to deliver projects for customers across the education, healthcare, local government, construction and retail industries.

The Huddersfield franchise plays a pivotal role in the wider FASTSIGNS network, currently made up of 25 centres across the UK. The centre, based on Hoyer Industrial Park, Leeds Road, has more technical output than others centres and, as such, supports teams around the country, including FASTSIGNS Crawley, Birmingham, Gloucester and Milton Keynes.

Talking about handing over the business, Keven said: “Four and a half years ago, when I acquired the business, Simon and Harry were already key to its success. I came in to drive forward the business, and put in place strategies that could future-proof the company.

“Harry and Simon were both eager to learn and had an excellent foundation of knowledge of the business, its operation and the wider market. From the start, I knew my role wasn’t going to be for the long-term and that, with their expertise, and the support of the FASTSIGNS UK network, I could eventually leave the centre in good hands.”

While Keven is to take a step back from his current role, he will be on-hand to support Harry and Simon on a consultancy basis, offering insight on strategy as they look to scale the business.

Commenting on what the future holds, Simon said: “What a milestone year this is. Not only does the centre celebrate two decades working within the community, Harry and I are also taking the reins from our friend and colleague, Keven, who has led the centre’s success over the past five years.

“Our plan for the next 12 months is to keep the foundation of the centre in place, alongside our talented workforce. Moving forward, we’re aiming to attract new clients, while still offering our current customers the very best quality of product and experience.

“We’d like to thank Keven for his service, and all that we’ve learnt during his time with us, and we look forward to being a part of the centre’s next chapter.”

Eaton Smith Solicitors have announced that commercial property senior solicitor, Jamie Humpheson, has been appointed president of the Huddersfield and Dewsbury Incorporated Law Society at their AGM.

Jamie said: “I would like to thank Ellie Hirst of Chadwick Lawrence, our outgoing president, for all her hard work and dedication under her tenure. She will be a tough act to follow. I would also like to thank Matthew Dickerson for his proposal.

“I am looking forward to working with the Huddersfield and Dewsbury legal communities this upcoming year. My congratulations also go out to Christopher Carney of Schofield Sweeney on his appointment as vice-president.”

Philip Clarke, partner at Eaton Smith Solicitors, said: “We are extremely proud to see Jamie appointed president of the Huddersfield and Dewsbury Incorporated Law Society. We wish him all the best and can’t wait to support him in his new role.”

Huddersfield-based printer Leach has created Christmas window displays for Swaine, the UK’s oldest luxury goods brand.

Swaine, which supplies luxury accessories including hats, bags, scarves and umbrellas for both men and women, have two stores in London, one in New Bond Street and another in Mayfair’s Burlington Arcade.

The company dates back to the 18th century and Leach was awarded the contract to install graphics for Christmas shop window displays which hark back to its heritage while, at the same time, appealing to contemporary customers.

The House of Swaine designed a playful window display for both stores centred around the theme of gentleman’s games. The brief included backgammon checkers, cards, chess pieces, dominoes and dice that were to be nestled amongst quaint cut-out figurines of sketched aristocratic Victorians, top hats, hot air balloons and antique motors in shades of blue and pink.

To create Swaine’s vision, Leach crafted in excess of 150 printed elements in a range of materials to dress both locations.

From start to finish, the project was turned around by Leach in less than one week following a detailed in-person survey of both stores by its team.

The artwork proofing and quality checking process took two days whilst production took just three days.

The installations were completed over a single weekend, with the first store’s windows completed overnight on Saturday and the second overnight on Sunday, minimising disruption to staff and shoppers at a busy time of year and ensuring the Christmas campaign was unveiled by mid-November.

So impressed are the team at Swaine that they have appointed Leach to once again dress its windows in January 2024.

Tom Foster, director of project management at Leach, said: “It was a real honour that Swaine put their Christmas window campaign into our hands.

“Our wide breadth of specialist printing capabilities came together to produce a stunning display that exceeded expectations.

“I’m proud to say that this was completed against quite a tight timeframe but with no detriment to the high-quality graphics that we are known for.

“I look forward to working with Swaine into the New Year and beyond.”

Two Huddersfield based manufacturing businesses have exciting plans for growth in 2024 and beyond for their respective sister companies UK Curtain Walling and Window Control Systems, and their shared premises in Lockwood.

The team have secured new factory premises and increased the footprint of both manufacturing spaces so that they can bring production in-house.

The move will give them more control over an unpredictable supply chain and an ability to offer competitive pricing for customers. Bringing the operation in-house also allows them to reduce surface miles, improving the carbon footprint, as both companies get set for exponential growth.

Duncan Hague, director of UK Curtain Walling, explained the rationale behind the move and said: “The marketplace has been very volatile since we came out of the pandemic, with increased pricing for raw materials, wage rises, fuel costs and general overheads. 

“Despite tightening budgets, there’s definitely an appetite for new-builds and refurbishments, particularly retrofitting older buildings to prolong their lifespan and improve energy efficiency. 

“This expansion was the logical next step in our growth and sustainability as independent enterprises. It gives us autonomy on our own pricing structure and it helps us to solidify the great relationships we have built with our customers over the last seven years, who know we can be trusted to deliver on their behalf.”

On the other side of the factory floor is Window Control Systems UK. It is fast becoming one of the UK’s leading suppliers and installers of manual and electronic window control systems.

Its range of products include all areas of natural ventilation, smoke control, manual and electronically controlled window systems for the schools, colleges, care homes and the healthcare sector. 

The new factory means Window Control Systems can add a new louvre product range to its customer offering. Prior to the move, this was provided by a third-party supplier, bringing production in-house will reduce manufacturing time, reducing costs and installation time for customers. 

Leading this growth is Samantha Hague, who says that expanding the product range was an important factor behind the move.

She added: “We always had ambitions to grow both businesses and the new factory space has allowed us to realise this in one place. The savings we make on overheads, supply chain and logistics are automatically passed to our customers through our competitive pricing.

“The larger manufacturing space and a skilled workforce has allowed us to increase our product portfolio by introducing the louvre range, which means we can offer our customers greater choice. We have a new business development manager joining us in the New Year to help us with this much anticipated growth.”

Both businesses are looking to positive expansion in 2024. UK Curtain Walling works predominantly with civil engineering projects such as railway bridges, commercial buildings for retail and car showrooms, as well as residential apartments and schools.

Director Duncan Hague says the businesses are actively recruiting fabricators to join the existing team and help deliver the order books which are filling up nicely for the year ahead.

Sheffield-based contact centre Ant Marketing has chosen Huddersfield creative and strategic brand agency Smith to rebrand and create a new sales-focused website to support business growth.

Ant Marketing, established over 35 years ago by chief executive Anthony Hinchliffe, now employs 1,200 people across five sites in Sheffield, and works with some of the UK’s most established brands including RBS, JD Sports, Britvic, The Economist and Daily Mail.

Ant Marketing offers various sales and customer service-related services, such as outbound sales, appointment setting, inbound sales and inbound customer service, helping businesses effectively service customers and create new customers with intelligent contact. They’ve also recently acquired specialist B2B telemarketing company MarketMakers, who have joined the Ant Marketing group.

Smith has been briefed to help rebrand Ant to attract more work, change perceptions and grow their international client base, whilst also helping position them to recruit new staff.

Oli Smith, founder of Smith, said: “Ant Marketing are a well-established business and has a client list to be proud of. Our job is easier when we’re branding a business with such pedigree.

“Ant help some of the nation’s well-known businesses connect with their customers – we’re looking forward to capturing their spirit within a new brand and marketing communications.”

CEO of Ant Marketing, Anthony Hinchliffe, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership and said: “As a business we’re thriving. We are attracting some fantastic projects and we already have a lot of great relationships with some of the world’s most prestigious brands, helping them as long-term partners in growing their business.

“We’ve always put our customers first, and sometimes don’t always shout about our own impact. In early conversations, Smith Agency commented that our image didn’t reflect who we are as a business.

“They’ve challenged us to think differently about how we market ourselves and how we talk about what we do. We’ve engaged Smith to help us tell our story and stand out in this competitive market.”