Having a Business in Great Yarmouth is Great!

Living and working somewhere makes it very easy to forget why it’s great and you fell in love with it to start with. Delegates at the Great Yarmouth breakfast on April 4th were treated to a rare moment where they fell in love with the area again courtesy of Siobhan McEvoy-Ridley and Graham Ridley from Retro Activewear.

Retro Activewear are the UK’s leading garment printer and have been in the business for over 30 years. Traditionally their clients were in rock and roll and they print tour t-shirts for Led Zepplin and Metallica as well as now Ariana Grande. Since moving to Great Yarmouth they’ve diversified and now have their own web-stores, work with companies further afield than they could in London, and have diversified their clients to include sportswear and small-scale designers.

They had a large site in Hackney which they had been in for a long time, unfortunately they experienced a dramatic increase in business rates, from £35,000 to £80,000 as the financial year changed over. When Graham attempted several times to contact Hackney Council in various different ways with no success they took the decision to move the business to Norfolk, following their personal move several years earlier. Their experience with Norfolk County Council and the Enterprise Zone among other agencies has been nothing but positive. They have downsized the business but are concentrating on being the best in the business as opposed to the biggest.

Graham feels the people working for them in Norfolk have a completely different and much more positive attitude to working, they have aspirations to learn a trade and want to increase their knowledge. Their customers have only perceived the move to be positive, they’re even considered to be better value for money! They even have new companies wanting to work with them because they’re not in London, it makes them more accessible and “friendlier”.

In conjunction with the move they also took the decision to invest £300,000 in new digital printing technology which has also increased their ability to diversify. Alongside their screen printing abilities which is perfect for large-scale printing, they now have the ability to print very small runs and one-offs.

It was great to hear from a company who had experienced starting up and growing in a different area and made the decision to move to Great Yarmouth, especially since they have had such a positive experience and feel supported by the local community and business organisations. The whole room left feeling enthused and positive and there was a great buzz as delegates walked out.

We also had two fantastic stands from The Benjamin Foundation, who are celebrating their 25th anniversary with butterflies, and East Norfolk Sixth Form who have over 1600 students studying over 80 A Levels and BTECs. Both looked absolutely fantastic and we were delighted to have them with us for the morning. A big thank you goes out to Chris from GGS for taking some fantastic pictures of the morning.

Every networking breakfast features a different speaker, if you’d like to be there for the next one on June 20th book now!

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