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Based on Trafford Park, Manchester, leading sign makers Signs Express (Manchester) were awarded 'Franchisee of the Year' at a national awards ceremony last week; a fitting end to what owner Lee Eaton describes as his best ever year.

Lee said, 'As we reach the end of the year, I'm so excited for 2015 as we have great plans for expansion and want to build on the momentum we have established in 2014. I am delighted to accept this award but know that small business owners like me rely on the dedication and motivation of their staff and so I thank all of the team for their hard work and support in helping me achieve my goals this year.' To help with operational efficiency and profitability in the years to come, Lee Eaton has made considerable investment in the latest technology, extending their in-house capabilities. The production centre is expecting delivery of an additional wide format printer in the coming weeks. The HP-330 is a latex printer, using water based inks to provide high quality prints onto vinyl materials, and will join their JV33 printer in a dedicated print room. Assisting with application of vinyl graphics, the team has also recently taken delivery of a 2.5m Monster application table which sits alongside their existing Rolls Roller machine. The Monster table has its own compressor and pressure rollers to create perfectly flat application without creases or bubbles. The final Christmas present to the hardworking sign making team is a Piranha laser cutting and engraving machine. This versatile flatbed machine can engrave and precision cut a variety of materials from metals and acrylics to boards and glass. From small door signs or plaques to larger individually cut letters and logos, the laser cutter is adaptable to suit a variety of intricately cut designs and finished products. With building work taking place to extend their premises and a raft of new equipment in place, Signs Express (Manchester) has nurtured several new contracts this year. This is in addition to building on their existing long term relationships with blue chip clients who themselves have expanded their businesses and thus grown their signage needs during 2014. A growth of turnover in excess of 26% has also lead to the recruitment of additional staff to cope with demand. Signs Express (Manchester) was awarded the Franchisee of the Year at the Signs Express annual awards and convention event which was held on 28th November. The market leading franchise has 70 centres across the country and is celebrating its 25th year in business. Franchisor and managing director Craig Brown commented, 'Lee is an exemplary member of the network so we were delighted to present him with this award. Lee originally set up the business alongside his father Geoff and they have built a solid foundation made from strong customer service and high quality products; two core values which firmly reflect our business vision. He has taken tremendous strides this year, working to establish large new contracts, reinvesting in the future of the business and breaching a landmark turnover figure and the future looks very bright for 2015.'

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