Two business partners have taken the next step in their future plans, despite the challenges of coronarivus.
Kevin Masheder and Marc Squires have owned the Harrogate franchise of Signarama since 2016 and, like most business owners, have faced the challenges of changing regulations since last March.
They have now decided to launch as an independent signage business under a new brand, SignHub, and hope the contacts they have built over the last five years will see them through the rest of lockdown and beyond. Marc said:
“When the first lockdown was announced, we closed for seven or eight weeks, when the shops were all closed. They started saying manufacturing could be open as an essential service, but it was all very uncertain.
“When retail opened, Kevin and I came in, then the other staff followed on part-time furlough. After we opened, we had a lot of work from people like landscape gardeners, who could work outside.”
The second half of 2020 was a mixed picture for the business, with quieter periods during tighter restrictions and over Christmas. The new lockdown from the start of the year saw work tail off, but Marc said the last two weeks have been busier again – and the pair are hopeful that the next stage in their business journey will be a success, despite the challenging circumstances.
Initially employed as graphic designers, when Marc and Kevin took over the franchise they were given the opportunity to turn it into an independent business. However, they wanted to learn the ropes from outgoing owner Michael Webster, who stayed on to help them get established before taking full retirement.
With a host of local companies using their services to create signage and more, the pair hope the rebrand will only help to raise their profile. Customers have already been complimenting the new signs on their Knaresborough Road premises – but they won’t be in place for long.
The lease on the building ends this spring so, needing more space and covered areas to brand vehicles, they are moving to Killinghall Business Park. Marc added:
“When we could network, we got to know a lot of people in the business community. We thought if we can spread the word about the changes, it won’t be too bad.
“We are roadside now, so people do come past, but they only come in if they need what we offer – and at the moment, the retail side is click and collect only. A lot of our work comes from online, especially since covid began, and a lot of our bigger customers wouldn’t come to the shop anyway – they just email or pick up the phone.
“We also get a lot of referrals from our customers, so we hope that will continue.”