First Minister for Wales Rhodri Morgan today (Friday, 15th March 2002) confirmed the creation of 180 new jobs in Bangor, North Wales, by one of the UK’s largest direct-mail booksellers.
The Book People Ltd is to open a state-of-the-art facility at Britannia Park, Parc Menai, which will house a distribution centre, call centre, and IT support base. The new facility is being developed and built by Watkin Jones Construction.
In addition to the 180 permanent full-time jobs being created by the expansion, up to 250 temporary/seasonal employees will be required to work full-time for four months of the year.
The investment has been made possible thanks to a Regional Selective Assistance grant from the Welsh Assembly Government and a Property Development Grant from the WDA. The WDA has received an extra £800,000 from the Assembly Government this year to help fund this grant.
Marking the start of work on the project while visiting the site, the First Minister said: “This is a very important breakthrough for Bangor and North West Wales as whole and I am delighted that the teamwork of the Assembly Government and the WDA has been instrumental in achieving this for the area.
“I am especially pleased that we have been able to attract a world name like The Book People to Bangor and that their state-of-the art investment will bring first rate, skilled jobs to the area. With my special responsibility for North Wales, this investment decision is a clear sign of a real commitment to bringing high-quality new technology industries to North West Wales.”
Watkin Jones Construction are building the 130,000sq ft facility on land they own at Britannia Park, Parc Menai.
Ted Smart, Chairman of The Book People said: “We’re delighted to be opening our new distribution and call centre at Parc Menai and are looking forward to being one of the major employers in the Bangor area. Our aim as a company is to bring books to as wide an audience as possible. With this new facility we will be able to extend our capability to process thousands of orders a week.”
Chris Farrow, WDA Executive Director – North Wales said: “This is excellent news for North Wales. We are very pleased to have attracted such a prestigious investment to Gwynedd, creating good quality and skilled jobs. Team Wales has once again achieved a tremendous success and we look forward to similar investments throughout 2002.”
Mr Farrow paid tribute to the Agency’s Investment team in North Wales who worked closely with the company to complete the deal.
The Book People was established in 1988 selling books direct into the workplace. Today, it is one of the market leaders in direct-mail, internet and workplace book sales, selling over 14 million books every year and with a turnover of over £70 million.
The company already has a distribution centre at Haydock, near St Helens where it employs 150 people and its headquarters is in Godalming, Surrey. The new centre at Bangor was needed to cope with increasing orders and plans to raise the company’s turnover to £100million a year.
The new facility will be able to deal with at least 60,000 books per day with plans for expansion.
Jon Mendoza, director of Watkin Jones Construction, said: “We are very pleased to have helped secure this important investment for North Wales. Working in partnership with Welsh Assembly Government, WDA and The Book People, we have managed to bring important and skilled jobs to the area as well as securing an important contract for our company. This is a prime example of the success that the public/private partnership can achieve.”
Gwynedd Council Leader, Cllr Alun Ffred Jones said : “Gwynedd Council is delighted to welcome The Book People Ltd to Bangor. The new jobs will be a substantial boost to the economy of the area. This development proves that when the public and private sectors work together it is possible to attract prestigious companies to Gwynedd.”