Clients’ dismay at collapse of Sheffield printers: ‘Skilled and passionate people have lost their jobs’

Clients of a Sheffield printing firm that has gone into administration with the loss of 23 jobs have spoken of their ‘sadness and devastation’ following the company’s collapse.

Experience Sheffield City Centre: An Independent Guide, printed by Evolution for the city centre Business Improvement District

Evolution Print, based on Atlas Way off Carlisle Street, produced high-end brochures, documents, books and magazines, including handsomely-illustrated local tourism guides.

The company faced mounting arrears in rent and business rates, and – in common with other printers – was hit by 40 per cent increases in wholesale paper costs since 2016.

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One of its important clients was The Modernist Society which has branches around the country, including Sheffield, celebrating 20th century architecture and design. Evolution, which was incorporated in 1996, produced the society’s internationally-distributed quarterly magazine The Modernist as well as a host of other printed items for the group.

Edict2 magazine, produced by Evolution Print

The society’s founders, Jack Hale and Eddy Rhead, said Evolution would be ‘difficult to replace’.

“We were very sorry to hear that the company that prints our magazine and the vast majority of our publications had gone into administration. This was devastating news for us both on a professional and personal level. We have used Evolution since we started and we considered them an integral part of what we do. They had always supported and understood what we were trying to do and always produced exemplary work for us. Evolution were our friends.

“We are therefore very sad, on many levels, that they have had to make this difficult decision. On a personal level we are saddened that many skilled and passionate people have lost their jobs and our thoughts go out to those people. On a professional level we have lost an excellent printer, who we have built an excellent relationship with over the years and one that we will find difficult to replace.”

The next edition of The Modernist is now ‘behind schedule and delayed’, they said. “The current issue was in production when Evolution went into administration. This means that it is currently unfinished and we are busily looking for a way of getting it out.”

From The Archives: Hyde Park, a booklet and set of postcards exploring the Hyde Park estate in Sheffield, was printed by Evolution. Picture: The Modernist Society

Andy Wood, associate director at insolvency specialist Wilson Field which was called in when problems arose, said: “This is a very competitive industry where cost increases cannot easily be passed on and where margins are tight. Cash flow problems developed and things came to a head when legal action was threatened in respect of arrears in business rates.”

The situation was aggravated by suppliers requesting pro forma invoices – a type of quotation – which led to ‘difficulty obtaining the basic raw materials to trade, leaving the directors with little alternative but to seek professional advice’, said Mr Wood.

Evolution employed 30 staff and 23 jobs were made redundant. A small number of staff have been kept on to finish existing contracts while a buyer for the company is sought. The firm, headed by managing director Jonathan Newbould, was approached for comment.