James Kent, 30, spent three months working 15-hour-days transforming an empty unit at St Anne’s Mills in Kirkstall into a base for his printing business the Big Brand Print Company after moving from smaller premises in Bradford last October.
The firm - which employs four people – was due to start trading in January, but the floods which devastated Kirkstall wrecked the hard work done by company director Mr Kent and production manager Sam Stranix.
The two men had to start again and spent four months setting up the unit again before finally starting trading in June at the business, which does large format graphics printing including signs, banners and posters.
Mr Kent said: “We were excited to come back in January and get stuck in because we needed to start making it pay. But then the floods happened on Boxing Day and everything was literally a metre under water. I would be lying if I said I didn’t weep. It was very bleak.” Mr Kent said the flood damage and lost business cost the firm around £100,000.
He said: “Because I had spent so much and borrowed so much, with us not being able to trade and also losing the existing business, it was like starting from scratch. “I started suffering from really bad headaches as a result of stress and high blood pressure. I ended up in hospital at Leeds General Infirmary. “It literally just wore me down to the ground. I was physically exhausted from working long days for seven solid months, plus all the mental stress of the financial implications. It was horrific, an absolute nightmare.
“But we have come through it and I feel great and a sense of relief.
“I’m excited to finally get stuck into helping other Leeds business with their graphics printing requirements.”