Mayday Graphic Products has a new owner
An important milestone in the history of Mayday Graphic Products, Mayday has a new owner, Ultraflex Europe, a subsidiary of the USA based Ultraflex Systems Inc. Ultraflex Europe and their parent company specialize in the supply of wide, large and grand format vinyl media to graphic and signage businesses throughout the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, South America and Asia.
For many in the litho, graphic arts and wide format market this move comes as no surprise, Mayday, having announced we were moving back in November last year to St Neots, Cambridgeshire, after 39 years operating out of our previous warehouse and office in Bury St Edmunds.
Mayday, the company was the inception of John & Sue Buckingham during the mid-eighties, incorporated in 1981 under the name of Mayday Printing Supplies (Anglia) Ltd, it was no coincidence John & Sue chose the name Mayday. However, in 1985 the company changed its name, still keeping the key name Mayday, to Mayday Graphic Products, in order to better convey the growing products the company was selling to the expanding customer base.Ultraflex Europe buy Mayday Graphic Products
Commenting on the acquisition Clint Green, MD, Ultraflex Europe said - "we weren't the only printing supply business to see the potential in Mayday, their product offerings, customer relationships. One thing though in particular stood out for us, their sales team, and staff dedication, really sealed it."
For many employees & directors, past and present Mayday Graphic Products has proved to be employment for the long term. Namely, Jim Fox and Helen Timms who have been 'front & centre' at Mayday for more years than they care to remember, when combined add up to more than a half century.
Well known, liked and admired throughout the UK printing industry, especially by printers in London, the Home Counties, and East Anglia, Jim Fox is Mayday's longest continuous serving director, having started with Mayday Printing Supplies (Anglia) Ltd in 1990. It wasn't long before Jim was making an impression with his co-workers, directors, and more importantly customers. So much that so, that during 2002 he was made a director.
Two years earlier owners, John & Sue Buckingham announced their pending retirement, appointing Graham Timson to the role of Director in 2000, and later during 2002 upon their retirement to Managing Director, following his acquisition of the company's share capital.
Throughout Jim's time at Mayday from first starting to becoming Managing Director in 2017 he has always looked to the future, that of the print industry, and Mayday customers. After a chance meeting with Richard Anderson, a former employee Mayday entered the wide and large format media market, with Richard becoming a Director in 2017. From this time on, Mayday's entry into the wide format graphics market has gone from strength to strength, with the addition of printing and cutting equipment, along with increased media product lines.
Jim Fox, MD, Mayday Graphic Products reflecting on the sale said, "you always wonder if you've done the right thing, when it involves people you've worked with for a large part of their working life, for me especially the last years have been particularly hectic, wearing the MD hat one day, and sales another." "One thing I'd like to say, the team at Mayday have been with me throughout, without them, it would have been tough". He added.
As with other Graphic Arts suppliers & service providers Mayday have not been immune to downturns in the printing industry, the slow and relentless move from litho to digital, affecting, and reducing consumable sales has meant businesses have had to change tack, either drastically changing their business model or amalgamating with others.
Unforeseen was Covid-19, something few would have known how this was to change the UK business landscape, affecting millions, employers and employees alike. Not until Lockdown did business owners realize the threat COVID posed. It was during this strange 'Covid-19 climate' Jim was approached by businesses looking to partner with Mayday, impressed by our resilience during the 2008-2009 financial crisis and the first Lockdown.
Mark Fisher, Operations Director added - "you could see the Mayday sales guys had plenty of drive, plenty of products, but outgrowing their warehouse. That's where we could help, our warehouse is massive, with a huge product range, ever though, we still had spare space, enough to accommodate the stock, and more." He continued.
Come summer and into autumn one suitor in particular stood out, Ultraflex, one of Mayday's larger suppliers. They were well aware of the business model, structure, products, and customers, realizing there was an opportunity to fill a gap in their product portfolio, Clint Green, Managing Director, Ultraflex Europe entered into talks with Jim, culminating in, not a merger, but outright purchase, that concluded mid-autumn 2020.
Since that time Mayday Graphic Products are slowly being integrated into the Ultraflex back office and warehouse systems, although it is envisaged both companies will keep their respective identities, websites, and marketing portals.
Mayday Sales Director, Richard Anderson is very upbeat about the takeover, adding. - "You know there were other parties interested in us, which would equally have been good for Mayday. You know though, I reckon this is a good move for all, Ultraflex & Mayday, we complement each other, and with Lockdown easing, there are big things on the horizon. Watch this space."