Printing firm relocates to huge space on the former Walker Crisps site

A printing and packaging firm’s rapid growth has seen it acquire a huge space near a well-known Peterlee site.

Since 2021, The Encore Group’s packaging division turnover has more than trebled fuelling major expansion plans that are set to create new jobs.

However, unprecedented demand for the company’s services has left the firm with a welcome headache – a lack of storage space.

That prompted the Wearside firm to snap-up a 103,000sqft unit in Peterlee, on the site of the former Walkers Crisps distribution centre.

The transaction, assisted by Kate Rickett of Muckle LLP, is part of a major multi-million-pound investment the firm hopes will help fuel further growth.

“We are thrilled with the new site and it will hopefully act as a catalyst for further growth,” said Group Sales Director, Craig Allen.

“The last few years have been incredible across the business, and it meant that we ran short of space, so this site will initially serve as a much needed storage solution for both raw materials and finished products.

“However, that will free up space at our main site which will mean more manufacturing capacity and more new jobs created for the local community over the next few years.”

Formed 40 years ago, the organisation includes packaging and envelope divisions. It also boasts one of the most modern and up to date factories in Europe.

Currently, it is the UK’s largest independent envelope and packaging manufacturer, and is expecting to record a turnover of around £54m for the current financial year – whilst it produces around a quarter of all the envelopes posted in Britain each year.

And the firm has flourished whilst maintaining an impressive environmental track record which has helped to establish it as one of Sunderland’s greenest companies having previously won the Sustainability Award at the Sunderland Business Excellence Awards.

Additionally, a young team member – 21-year-old Branden Hartley – won Apprentice of the Year at the latest awards staged last November.

Group Managing Director, David Cooper, said the awards were important as they recognised the firm’s commitment to both the environment, and developing their workforce of almost 300 staff.

He added: “Staff wellbeing is also a priority for us as is supporting the communities in which we work and draw our team from.

“We have not been great at publicising our support but are trying now to give our local charities more support by including them in our CSR programme and via our social channels.”

The Encore Group have a history of supporting local charities and sports clubs as part of our CSR programme and we support three local breakfast clubs, Childrens Cancer North, Children North East and several local grassroots sports clubs.”

And Group Financial Director Gary Joyce added: “Be it the environment, our talented apprentices or the new site, we recognise that the key to a successful future is investment – and our continued growth shows that our investments are paying off.”