Business plans to double in size after move to Dunedin

Tuapeka Gold Print managing director Brad Houghton stands in the company's new Dunedin factory yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.Tuapeka Gold Print is committed to bucking the trend of job losses in Dunedin and aims to double the size of its business within a ''few years''.

Managing director Brad Houghton made the comments as production started at its new factory in Fairfield yesterday after operations were shifted from Lawrence.

''I've read too many sad stories about [Dunedin] people losing their jobs and we want to make a difference. We want to buck that trend and do something really positive.''

The shift was already making a difference in Dunedin, with five of the 10 staff laid off in the closure of Bell Tea's Dunedin factory getting full-time positions.

They were replacing staff who did not make the move from Lawrence, of whom three retired and two were fixed-term part-time staff.

The company, which employs about 70 people, is New Zealand's largest supplier of branded promotional products such as pens and drinkware and has an eight-figure turnover.

Shifting to the former Taieri Print site in Chadwick St allowed it to have all its operations under one roof instead of working from five buildings in Lawrence and its warehouse in Mosgiel.

Moving to Dunedin was necessary for the company to expand, Mr Houghton said.

''We are here for a reason. We are going for it. We want to double the size of the company in the next few years.''

This included expanding into the Australian market and increasing its range of products.

The new custom-designed facility was ''a dream'' compared with the old one and doubled the amount of space available.

''We can go places - we have got so much space.''

It would improve productivity in a number of ways, which included not having to cross the road for staff breaks.

''I calculated [that in total] we walked about 5000km just to smoko every year. We had one person permanently walking to smoko, in effect.''

The move had gone to plan, with production staff having a break over Easter while equipment was shifted and the new factory prepared.

The company had worked hard to get Lawrence-based staff on board with the move, including providing transit vans to transport them to and from Fairfield, and those spoken to by the Otago Daily Times yesterday were genuinely excited about working in the new factory.

• Tuapeka Gold Print initially focused on printing pens but has since expanded to print on everything from bags to USB drives and portable speakers. By 1993, with sales of up to four million pens, it was the largest printed pen business in New Zealand.

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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