New base delivers goods for mail firm

Managing Director Alan Purvis in the new premises of MetroMail in Foxcover Enterprise Park, Seaham.
Managing Director Alan Purvis in the new premises of MetroMail in Foxcover Enterprise Park, Seaham.
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METROMAIL has taken delivery of a £10million new home.

The mailing firm has swapped its old base in Peterlee for a big new site on Seaham’s Foxcover Enterprise Park.

Managing director Alan Purvis said there was one reason for staying close to the company’s East Durham roots – the workforce.

“We have been on three sites in Peterlee since 1988. We were in the last place for 10 years. We had a 90,000 square foot facility and basically, because we kept expanding, kept buying new equipment, we had filled it,” he said.

“When we had filled that site, we had a look at where we wanted to go. There was no overwhelming reason why we had to be in East Durham, but the reason we stayed is because we are looking after our people.

“We have got some very, very good people and if we had moved away we would have lost that and had to start from scratch.”

As well as moving into a new home, the firm has decided to buy its new premises for the first time.

“We have now got this site, which is 140,000 square feet, and we took the decision that we wanted to buy rather than rent because it allows us much greater flexibility to do what we wanted with the building,” said Alan.

Although there are no immediate plans to add to the company’s 250-strong workforce, Alan is confident extra room will allow MetroMail to expand.

“Technology is changing and getting faster,” he said.

“So we could expand the business without always necessarily employing more people – but by expanding the business, we are safeguarding some good jobs and looking after our people.”

While other firms have shelved spending plans during the recession, MetroMail has speculated to accumulate– and the results speak for themselves.

“In terms of the building, fitting out and new equipment, the cost of the move is about £10million,” said Alan.

“We have tried to invest our way thorough the hard times. Our strategy has been to invest in a way that makes our business smarter, fitter, leaner and more efficient.

“Our clients have seen us invest, seen us put money into the business and we are seen as a very safe pair of hands in the industry. We are looking to put £2million on turnover this year, which is scary but we think is achievable.”