The Early Days
Bishops Printers was established in 1985 and started life as a modest stationery and copy shop on Hayling Island, Hampshire. From relatively humble beginnings, business grew to the stage where a new premises was required to cope with the increased demand and a move to Goldsmith Avenue, Fratton was completed in 1990.
The new factory had been the old Fyffes banana warehouse in Portsmouth, and as a famous local landmark Bishops chose to recognise the history of the site in their address. This move enabled the company to continue their early years of expansion and invest in their first four colour press in 1992.
At that time, Bishops revolutionised the local print market with a flexible approach to getting jobs done, facilitated by 24 hour shifts, seven days a week.
In 1993, as the business developed, a first floor was constructed to accommodate significant investments into digital repro, and two years later the adjoining premises were acquired to provide an extra 8000 sq ft of manufacturing space.
The Need to Expand
Soon, a mezzanine floor was required to comfortably house the growing number of Sales, Admin and Customer Service staff, while allowing digital repro to continue to grow with further investments in computer-to-plate and Power Mac technology.
At the same period in 1997, a new five colour press arrived to help cope with the increasing demands on capacity, with which the single four colour machine could never have managed. However, within a year, the old four colour press was deemed to be due replacement, and accordingly a new five colour with coating unit arrived at the considerable outlay of £750,000.
The remaining unit in the development was acquired in January 1999 and the workforce exceeded 100 staff for the first time. Turnover had risen to an impressive £6million.
A major two-year shirt sponsorship deal with Portsmouth FC was unveiled in 2000 and Bishops Printers was fast becoming a recognizable brand, attracting significant business from all over the south of England.
Greater interest and a higher quantity of orders meant that Bishops needed to increase its workforce and purchase new, state-of-the-art print equipment - quite simply a larger, more appropriate site was now a necessity.
The Move to Farlington
Autumn 2002 saw the acquisition and development of the current premises in Fitzherbert Road, Farlington. The new building has more than twice the space of the previous site, allowing for considerable future growth.
A Heidelberg 10 colour press was installed during October and this was linked directly to the prepress network, in which twin Agfa Palladio computer-to-plate units were installed, expanding our output capacity four-fold.
A Molex category 6 network, managed by Compaq servers runs all business systems, ensuring a fast and efficient data flow and keeping our presses running.
Having the capacity and flexibility to take on both high volume and time-sensitive print jobs, Bishops was now able to secure a number of high-profile deals including the Chelsea FC matchday programme contract. A landmark was reached in 2006 when turnover exceeded £10million for the first time.
There was a period of expansion during both 2007 and 2008 as the company sought to maximize use of the Farlington site. Success followed with the news that both Crystal Palace and Fulham had chosen to secure Bishops' services for their programmes along with Chelsea re-signing a two-year contract.
Between May-June 2009, an additional three high-profile football programme contracts were secured (Arsenal, Portsmouth and Charlton) with a combined value of £1m. Three major new pieces of Finishing equipment were purchased to cope with the increased demand for Bishops' services at a cost of over £500k. These included a Heidelberg stitcher (the third) and folder (the sixth) along with a new guillotine to replace one of the four existing machines.
A second Finishing department (right) has been established in the former paper warehouse and an order for two additional Heidelberg 10-colour perfectors (an XL series unit) has been placed.
Following several months' research, preparation and planning, Bishops became both FSC and PEFC Certified in the summer of 2009 - significant landmarks in the company's progression. This was followed by ISO 9001 Certification early in 2010, demonstrating our commitment to quality and efficiency.
With 145 staff and turnover reaching £13m, Bishops Printers continues to expand with a policy of growth through investment and a highly competitive pricing structure.
With our 2009-10 financial year showing solid sales figures in spite of the economic slowdown, the future is bright for both Bishops and its customers.
The Move to Walton Road
In August 2010, we marked our 25th Anniversay, by moving into a new 85,000 sq ft factory, which will facilitate our continued expansion into the next decade and beyond.