13 Mar 2014

Lawrence too small for growing print firm

2:17 pm on 13 March 2014

The biggest employer in the Central Otago town of Lawrence has grown too big for the area and is moving to Dunedin.

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Tuapeka Gold Print, which prints promotional branded items such as pens and mugs, is shifting its factory from Lawrence to Fairfield, south of Dunedin.

The company will bus its 62 staff to the new site, which is almost an hour away by road, for a year.

Managing director Greg Jolly said Lawrence had simply become too small.

"Once you get to a certain mass you're having to get staff from outside the province. Also, internet speed was never as good as we needed it to be."

Mr Jolly said some staff did not want to make the commute but they understood it was a commercial reality that the company had to move to expand.

Tuapeka Gold Print production support group team leader Rory Tisdall said the decision to move was inevitable after snow caused the factory's warehouse roof to collapse and forced it to move stock to Mosgiel last year.

Bussing to Fairfield would mean everyone had to make sacrifices, and for him it meant his role as Lawrence's volunteer fire chief would have to be scaled back.

"While I'm not relinquishing the role here at this stage, I've certainly reviewed the time I spend performing that role," Mr Tisdall said. "But I have a lot of support from the brigade, in particular."

Clutha mayor Bryan Cadogan said Lawrence would lose a lot of its vibrancy when the firm left town.

"Right at the moment you've got 70 people working in a township of just over 300. So they bring their own vibrancy, they're spending money down the town," Mr Cadogan said.

"It's just that critical mass they bring to the town. To lose that is an issue."

However, there were still other opportunities in Central Otago, and the area was not short of jobs, he said.