Printing firm makes its mark with education acquisition

Pinchinthorpe Hall

A Tees printing firm has acquired a long-standing customer to help it move further into the education sector.

Stockton-based AlphaGraphics, a marketing services and print business, has acquired one of its key clients, Class Fundraising, which provides personalised Christmas cards, mugs and tea towels to schools.

The move will mean that Class Fundraising’s 11-strong team will join AlphaGraphics’ existing workforce, taking the number of staff to 80, with plans to recruit for further positions later in the year.

AlphaGraphics managing director Andrew Dalton said: “Class Fundraising has been our customer for over a decade.

“The products and services offered closely align with our strategy of focusing on personalised gifts, whilst also strengthening our existing presence in the education market.

“They currently spend around £650,000 per year with us, the majority in quarters three and four, which is a major chunk of their annual sales of £2.7m, so the acquisition makes great business sense for everyone concerned. This will take group sales over £10m.

“We’ve been talking about the idea of this acquisition for the past five years, so I’m pleased to see it finally come to fruition.”

Class Fundraising was set up by Mark Simpson and Simon Fulton 11 years ago, and both men will stay with the business for the foreseeable future to ensure continuity.

Mark said: “Having worked with AlphaGraphics for such a long time, we’re confident that there’s no better company to ensure the continued success of Class Fundraising.

“The deal will give our existing operation access to even greater capacity, allowing us to offer our customers an even bigger and better choice of gifting options.”

Andrew added: “There will be no job losses as a result of the deal, and there are no plans to relocate the Class Fundraising team to our Preston Farm site before the end of the year.

“We will, at some point, want CFR employees to spend some time finding out what we do, and likewise our staff will spend some time at CFR understanding their processes, so there’s a lot to learn, which can only be a good thing.

“In the next few months, we’re also looking to recruit an operations manager, as well as a marketing director and a digital design role.”

Founded in 1993 to offer printing, display and mailing services, AlphaGraphics diversified over the course of the pandemic, launching an e-commerce platform selling tailored social distancing signs to commercial and corporate clients.

Pictured above: AlphaGraphics director Sean Costigan and managing director Andrew Dalton with Class Fundraising directors Mark Simpson and Simon Fulton.