Paws to think about your next business move

Pet owners have no need to paws for thought when it comes to deciding where to buy their beloved animals’ top quality name tags following a breakout engraving business’s move close to Stockton’s “golden mile”.

Andy Blackett and wife Mandy have moved their booming Engraving Studios firm into a newly revamped 2,400 sq ft unit on Arkgrove Industrial Estate on Ross Road near bustling Portrack Lane.

Teesside’s leading property developers Mandale Group have spent £1m giving part of Arkgrove a major makeover to bring it into the 21st century.

Engraving Studios specialise in producing and engraving top quality brass and durable plastic cat and dog tags from scratch, and have become the first company to move into one of six brand new units which have been given a serious spruce-up and made available to let this summer.

It represents a significant step for the expanding business, which began in the humble surrounds of Andy and Mandy’s shed at their Fairfield home five years ago and now has a £300,000 turnover after outgrowing Stockton Business Centre, which they had occupied for the past three years.

Engraving Studios have five staff, with two employees running the workshop and experienced Andy and Mandy doing the deep engraving, which is renowned for being longer-lasting than draft and laser engraving.

Andy’s dad Phillip helps out three days a week on the packing and distribution side, and the couple hope to take on another staff member in September.

They are currently working with a consultant to try and further internationalise the business through website sales, and have had help from Tees Valley Business Compass to buy new cutting, finishing and polishing machinery to meet their expansion needs.

Engraving Studios also sell hand-made collars and leads, and produce horse name plates and other nameplates and plaques in a variety of materials, shapes and sizes.

“It’s been a bit of whistle-stop tour for us, but we’ve worked hard to get to where we are now in a short space of time and we are very happy with how it’s all going,” said Andy.

“I wouldn’t like to set a limit or put a ceiling ceiling on how far we can go. We’re just rolling with it all and enjoying the ride.”

Andy says he “wouldn’t hesitate” to recommend an Arkgrove move to other firms after being impressed with the location and set-up, and the service they have received from Mandale and its estates director Joe Darragh.

“We looked all over Stockton and at the units that were available at the time,” said Andy, 37. “Mandale had finished the new Arkgrove units and it is just what we need.

“They are clean and modern, and location-wise it’s perfect for us – so moving in was a no-brainer really.

“It fits the bill perfectly for what we are – we aren’t a grubby back street workshop, but nor are we a mainstream high-street office either.

“We’re somewhere in the middle, so it’s ideal, and Mandale have been great to deal with from day one.

“Although Mandale are a big company, they’re only ever a phone call away. You don’t have to go through an agent.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Mandale or Arkgrove Industrial Estate to other businesses making a new step like ourselves.”

Mandale Group estates director Joe Darragh said the company is “absolutely delighted to have the Engraving Studio move into Arkgrove as our first clients”.

“They’re a fast-growing business who now have space to expand,” he added.

“We think it’s the perfect place for them, as it’s a high-quality unit, spacious and easily accessible for themselves and customers.

“We’re in talks with three further businesses and getting lots of interest in the other units of varying sizes.

“They really are spot on for a variety of businesses – sales, distribution, manufacturing or industrial.”

For further information about Mandale’s units at Arkgrove Industrial Estate, contact Joe Darragh on 07973 908599 or email