2016 turned out to be quite a year for Littleport’s businesses, and particularly for the Sigma Embroidery & Printing Company.
In a surprise move, they swapped the smaller premises they occupied in Main Street for their neighbour’s larger retail outlet, the Bargain Centre, earlier in the year. This was a good one as it seems to have brought them more work, and recognition, not only for the good work they produce, but for their involvement in many charity ventures and enterprises in the village.
“We do quite a bit for the community by getting involved with projects like Foodbank, plus special events run by Littleport Leisure Centre, and we are part of the Littleport Town Team which sets out to improve and to help promote various enterprises within the village,” said Sigma’s Manager Kim Oakhill who’s dog Charlie, a Cockerpoo, and working colleague Jamie Cranwell, participated in Cathy Gibb-de Swarte’s 22 press ups in 22 days challenge to raise Post Traumatic Stress Disorder awareness in August this year. This effort alone won them the ‘Best fun video’ out of all the other videos that were uploaded to YouTube, who ranged from Stephen Cole’s Alpacas, the Fire Fighters at the Fire Station, Littleport Town FC, Littleport Players, the Officials running the Stuart Seekings Charity Cup Final at Ely City FC, the Littleport Brass Band, and many more.
Ten years ago, Sigma was initially run by the Alpaca Lifestyle Farm man himself, Stephen Cole, before he retired, the Ship family then ran it before Kim about three years ago.
The business has continued to progress, thanks in part to the invention of new technology, and since the expansion to larger premises, it has enabled Kim to increase the work force to 4, welcoming Owen Timmins who joined his colleagues Jamie, Janine Darnell and Georgina King in October.
“We have bought a new computerised embroidery machine and hope to be accepted for a Leader Grant to the tune of £8,000 towards a two-headed machine which costs £20,000,” Kim told Littleport Life Magazine, who then explained what Kim Oakhill, Manager of Sigma Sigma Embroidery & Printing was all about and why they had received one of the most prestigious awards of the year.
“We embroider and print on items like polo shirts, caps, sweatshirts, hoodies etc., for lots of clubs and groups, plus we also do personalised presents for people for special occasions like Christmas and Birthdays.
Our main goal now is to get more clubs and groups linking onto our website buying on line, and Owen is responsible for making our website more user friendly and accessible to more clubs and groups like Littleport Runners. We are not limited to working for just local groups either, having been given an assignment from a decorative glass company in Wales where we embroidered their logo on their work clothes,” revealed Kim.
The company was the winner of the Judges Award category in the Ely Standard newspaper’s East Cambridgeshire Business Awards 2016.
Afterwards Kim said; “We weren’t expecting to win considering the top companies we were up against, but what a fantastic achievement for a small business like ours, and I couldn’t have done it without my hard-working staff.”
Kim’s company had also been shortlisted as a finalist in three different categories, namely Commercial Business in the Community, Employer of the Year and Small Business of the Year. But they were not alone!
At the Awards, at which John Elworthy, editor of the Ely Standard, gave a great speech, held ‘to celebrate the district’s leading companies and entrepreneurs’ in the Lady Chapel at Ely Cathedral in October, other Littleport-based businesses were honoured to be finalists.
In the ‘Small Business of the Year’ category were Red Shoes Accounting of Littleport, who actually give their considerable financial expertise to Littleport Life!
And in the ‘Customer Service Award’ and the ‘Online Business of the Year’ Littleport’s own Fenland Spirit Services Ltd., were well-deserved finalists.
Stuart and his wife Carol, perhaps best known for her excellent bee-keeping, retired from his day job as an on-call vehicle breakdown mechanic with a national company and set up their own home-run family business in January 2015.
As Stuart, who has extensively trained as an agricultural and horticultural engineer, with further training in large machines and vehicle maintenance, says, ”We aim to provide a happy and efficient experience for your over-worked lawnmower, ride-on, garden machinery, car or boat!”
To avail yourself of Sigma, Red Shoes or Fenland Spirit Services, please see their adverts in this issue of your Littleport Life!