Christchurch business Permanent Press is back up on its feet and thriving, with sales back to pre-earthquake levels four years after the devastation of February 2011.
A family-run business with a staff of five, Permanent Press specialise in offset UV printing. They act as a trade house for other printing companies, providing spot matt UV and solid UV gloss coating on a wide range of products. They also print outdoor vinyl labels, bumper stickers, plastic business cards, plastic menus, drink coasters and plastic tags for the nursery trade.
Brothers Mark and Dean Feldwick purchased the business in 1999, from one-man operator Mike Austin. Mike had specialised in producing letterpress descriptive plant tags for the nursery trade.
“We saw the potential of UV offset printing and moved into a wider range of products,” Mark says.
Mark looks after quotes, sales and production while Dean runs the cylinder, operates the guillotine and manages the factory. Their two printers keep the jobs rolling through. Graeme Everett is senior printer having been with the business for 15 years, while ‘Big Mikie’ is “the muscle behind the place” with eight years on staff. Admin is looked after by Dean’s wife Sarah.
With 33 years’ experience in the trade, Mark started out at GUS Print as a trainee estimator. He loves the creativity of the industry and seeing a job through from concept to completion.
“Especially with our technical kind of work - from clear plastic business cards that may require white ink spot matt UV and foils, to plastic boxes that are UV glossed to make them transparent and cardboard sleeves that have a high UV gloss.”
Permanent Press run older Heidelberg Presses that can print up to 800um plastic and board. UV dryers are attached to these presses. UV inks cure and adhere instantly under the UV light on any substrate. Their latest investment is a five-colour Komori with an inline UV dryer.
Speaking about the earthquake, Mark says the 22nd of February 2011 began as a normal day.
“At the time, we were processing an order for a million plastic New World coupon saver cards”, he says.
When the earthquake hit, the business sustained serious damage. An internal side wall collapsed over machinery, the concrete floor opened up through the centre of the production floor and windows blew out. Luckily no staff were injured, with Dean avoiding some falling concrete blocks just in time.
Showing true resilience and with the added motivation of meeting their order deadline, the very next day the team banded together to stabilise the wall, replace windows and carry out a major tidy up, while surrounding businesses reappeared after the weekend.
“Doing this avoided us being red-stickered and enabled us to continue trading,” Mark says.
“Custom Cutting Formes also allowed us to use their die-cutter, as ours was very damaged.”
To meet the deadline, the team broke the coupon saver cards out and packed them at home.
“This helped to keep all our families’ minds off the forever continuing aftershocks.”
The cards were despatched to every New World Supermarket in the South Island on time, six days after the quake.
“We ended up having a really good month which helped our cash flow, as the months following were very trying, with continuing after-shocks and a lot of customers still not trading,” Mark says.
In March 2014 Permanent Press relocated to brand new premises. The old building was demolished.
It has taken time to build the business back up to its former strength, with sales since 2011 dropping 10% each year as a reflection of the impact on local businesses. With this came the loss of some “very good customers”.
The team’s hard work is now paying off however, with the move to new premises, recent installation of the five-colour Komori press and the significant achievement of picking up a major packaging contract.
“Sales are back to where they were pre-quake,” Mark says.
He credits the hard work of his team as crucial to getting the business back to full strength.
“You are only as good as the team around you. Having loyal staff is the key to success in any business. 22nd February 2011 is a day we will never forget.”
Contact Permanent Press
P: 03 384 1296 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org