September 3, 2020 @ 11:19 by Steven Hugill
A signage and graphics firm is expanding operations after receiving a five-figure investment.
Radecal Signs is turning a 4000sq ft piece of land into a secure storage area.
Bosses say the space, alongside its base on Washington’s Armstrong Industrial Estate, will house materials it uses to make street and building signs, fascias and vehicle signage.
The business has been supported by the North East Small Loan Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund.
Radecal Signs worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to secure the investment, which officials say will help increase production efficiency, reduce costs and enhance profitability.
Planning permission has been secured for the project, with the expansion expected to be completed before the end of the year.
Radecal Signs was founded in 2002 by managing director Greg Economides and his late brother Chris in a business unit owned by a friend.
It began by providing graphics for ‘boy racer’ cars, before winning an initial project from Sunderland City Council in 2004 that eventually led to it managing the graphics requirements of a fleet of 500 vehicles.
In 2008, the business bought and moved into its existing 6000sq ft premises, from where its 13-strong team looks after the signage needs of clients across the north of England and Scotland.
Greg said: “We bought the land at the same time as the main building and haven’t used it up to this point but having looked at the benefits of having our own secure storage area right next door, it made sense to move these plans forward.
“Having the materials that we know we need right at hand means we’ll be able to prepare more thoroughly for what we know we’re going to need and then process orders more quickly, which will in turn help us increase our profitability and reduce our costs.”
Greg also praised Neil Clasper, senior business investment officer at Sunderland City Council’s business investment team, who has advised Radecal Signs for more than a decade and recommended NEL Fund Managers as a source of investment capital.
“Neil’s support has been pivotal in helping the business develop and succeed over the years and his recommendation that we speak to NEL about our growth plans turned out to be another good piece of advice,” added Greg.
“The NEL investment team were very thorough and supportive in helping us get our application over the line and gave us lots of useful information along the way.”
Praising the “creative, hardworking and resilient” Radecal Signs, Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “I’m really pleased Radecal have been able to secure the funding, which will help underpin their new investment and support the next stage of their growth plans.”
Part of the £120 million North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9 million North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of between £10,000 and £100,000 to businesses in Tyne and Wear, Durham and Northumberland.
It is designed to assist with the creation of more than 1200 new regional jobs across in excess of 320 SMEs over the life of the fund.
Mike Guellard, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, added: “Radecal Signs has built an excellent market reputation on the back of its long-term relationships with a range of well-known clients and the management team is taking a far-sighted approach to how it can continue to grow and succeed.”
Officials say the overarching £120 million North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80 million for further investment into the region.