A Tees-based engraving company has secured a second investment from UKSE (UK Steel Enterprise) to purchase a specialist printer needed to help meet growing demand.
Crystal Galleries, based in Middlesbrough, has acquired a second full-colour digital printer that reproduces full-colour photos, company logos and wording with the five-figure finance package.
Once it is fully operational the company expects to grow its current 62-strong workforce that includes artwork originators and engravers as well as sales and finance teams.
Jeremy Lowes and his sister Joanne run Crystal Galleries, the family business started by their father in a shop in 1982. Today it operates from a 33,000 sq ft space with office, factory and warehousing facilities.
Winner of the sector’s Specialist Supplier of the Year Award in 2018 its catalogue lists more than 1,400 products, many of them exclusive and sourced from manufacturers around the world including China and the USA. They include glasses, bowls, frames, tankards, vases, clocks, trophies and business desktop items.
Crystal Galleries provides products and engraving equipment as well as ready-engraved products to retailers, gift and promotion companies and many businesses that are household names throughout the UK and Europe.
The techniques used include subsurface laser crystal engraving, sandblast engraving, low and high fire colour printing and colour infill.
“We have seen an increase in sales of more than 20% over the last three years,” said Jeremy Lowes, who praises his extremely knowledgeable and committed staff for their part in the company’s growth. “Demand from online retailers such as gift providers is growing particularly strongly.
“UKSE finance helped us buy our first digital printer two years ago and we have seen a significant growth in demand for this particular full colour process which now takes a fraction of the previous time. It has helped us open up new growth areas.
“When we decided to invest in a second printer we had no hesitation in returning to UKSE as the first finance package had worked so well for us and we have a very good relationship with the team,” he added.
Peter Taylor, UKSE’s Business Development Manager, said: “Crystal Galleries is already a significant employer and is continuing to grow strongly. Having seen the business expand successfully with the help of our first investment we were happy to provide a second round of finance so that the company could invest in this equipment.”