Timeline of Reynolds Press
We are shaped by our past.
As the longest established printer in Coventry we are proud to continue the traditions of craftsmanship and outstanding quality of our forefathers.
It all started in a back bedroom.....
Mr Reynolds who worked at the local Dunlop factory on Holbrook Lane started printing pools coupons from a spare room in his house. Littlewoods was the big National player of this early type of lottery but there were lots of regional pools generating much needed income for local good causes. Reynolds Press was formed....
Reynolds Press purchased by Messrs Fox, Hughes, Flintoff and Wilson for the sum of £528
The business was duly incorporated as Reynolds Press (Coventry) Ltd. At the first board meeting it was confirmed that Mr Fox was appointed Managing Director on a salary of £8 per week!
In November 1960, land in Holbrook lane was purchased to build a new factory.
The land was purchased for £2,000 from the St. Finbar Social Club, an archtiect was appointed and the factory was constructed for £6,200.
First Heidelberg press purchased
Reynolds first Heidelberg press was purchased new to coincide with the opening of the factory in September 1961 followed quickly with another platen in 1962. Heidelberg platens were the mainstay of the global printing industry and are still in use today for letterpress, foiling and embossing printing.
Ex food wholesaler dips his toe into printing
With no previous experience apart from selling to food wholesalers, Tony Ray started work as a print sales representative first at Avon Litho and then at Edward Fox & Son, both printers located in Stratford-upon-Avon. He had the calling to run his own business but with no prior experience and at the age of 50, banks were not interested in backing him. It took an introduction to a high level accountant who pulled a few strings to get bank managers to take him seriously. The sale of his family home gained the necessary deposit and commitment, the search for a business was on......
Reynolds purchased by Tony and Barbara Ray
On 24th January 1975, the business was purchased from Messrs Fox, Wilson and Hughes for £26,667. With a clutch of outdated letterpress equipment, Tony knew he had a lot of catching up to do. Changing markets into profitable engineering and service businesses was a priority. Keeping the business lean with Tony being ‘front of house’ and Barbara doing the books meant that they could stabilise and turn round the loss-making business. Inheriting the experienced Brian Moore as works manager meant that production was taken care of – the start of a great team.....
Our first foray into litho
With x2 Heidelberg Cylinders and x2 Heidelberg Platens, Reynolds Press was lagging behind its competitors, it was time to take the huge step into litho printing with the purchase of a second hand Heidelberg Kord 64. This started a 10 year investment programme moving Reynolds into the litho age. Our client base was Dunlop, Bluemels, Jaguar, Peugeot, Cash's and Lumley Insurance.
Steve Ray joins the business
Fresh from completing his Higher National Diploma in Print Technology at Watford College, Steve was lured from the beaches of Bondi to come and work in the family business.
A growing business!
Growing in the eighties meant hiring a full time sales person, a graphic designer, admin support, bookbinding staff and taking on apprentices. The business was now turning into a small/medium sized business with processes and procedures. The culture was still very much a family and anyone’s birthday or anniversary was an excuse for a party. A lot of birthday cakes, tea breaks and organised evenings out were part and parcel of our tight knit business.
And the awards and innovations began.....
With the investment programme well under way it was time to become a market leader and Reynolds launched the first high quality 'print whilst you wait' service in the Midlands. Awards soon followed....
New branding for the mid 80's
And recognising our place in the local community. New clients included Coventry Council, Lloyds of London. Aldi approached us to print all their UK in-store material, as they grew, they became our largest client and helped us develop our ultra fast turnaround service.
There was always good humoured banter on the shop floor!
Time for another new factory
As print became more and more automated we had to take the giant leap of investing in a four colour press or get left behind. The only problem is we needed a new factory as our current one was not big enough to house a press of this size. We took the bold move of building our own purpose built factory #2 which coupled with the investment of the new press was a huge commitment.
A new brand for the 90's
In the 1990's every printer had a colour logo, so we decided to stand out by going retro. Barclays Bank, National Grid and Royal Mail came onboard as clients.
Invest or divest?
Another step change was needed to remain competitive, moving from single to double shifts was not enough, we were competing against 8 colour semi automatic presses. With a potential investment of £1 million required to keep us 'in the race' we looked at merging and selling as alternative options, eventually agreeing to sell to the fast growing GSG Group whilst remaining landlords of the group manufacturing base. In 1999, Reynolds changed from a print business to a property business.
Not all's well that ends well
Unable to handle the acquisition of 2 print businesses and struggling with tripling in size, GSG Group failed to see out the year and appointed receivers in December 2000. Stephen Ray agreed to buy back Reynolds Press for a nominal sum and started up again from scratch (parallels with Mr Reynolds 50 years beforehand). Working from home, it was time to renovate that 400 year old barn into an office! During the renovation we found a time vault buried in the floor dating from the Suez crisis in 1956, inside the vault was newspaper clippings and a large amount of old coins.
The 400 year old barn becomes an office complete with log burner!
Now a print management company and not having to keep printing presses busy, Reynolds could focus on delivering exceptional client service. Utilising all his print technology skills, Stephen Ray attracted demanding clients who wanted beautiful print.
Jay joins Reynolds
Luring Jay into the business was a game changer for Reynolds Press, Jay has an amazing attention to detail which our demanding clients gravitate to.
Steve becomes chairman of the Midlands region of the BPIF
The British Printing Industries Federation is the governing body for print in the UK. The Midlands region represents 1,819 companies, 26,121 staff and £275M combined turnover.
With a new brand and relaunch, Reynolds is growing again, planning to double its turnover and staff in 2021. Product and service development is a key focus too, using our print technology DNA to create a range of unique products and e-commerce platform.