43 Supreme years!
When Dave Townsend joined Supreme Plastics as a 17-year-old, little could he have imagined he would still be working at the same firm more than 43 years later.
At the time he was working on the railways in Whitby and one of his colleagues had just left to join Supreme and recommended it as a great place to work. His friend may no longer work at Supreme, but Dave, now 60, liked his job as a printer’s assistant – and stayed.
Since those days back in the late 1970s, Dave has seen a great deal of change at Supreme. The site whre , in Whitby’s Stainsacre Lane, has doubled in size. Originally it was surrounded by fields – now there are major supermarkets and buildings all around.
Dave joined the print shop and worked in there for 20 years. At first it was only him and his print shop boss Chris and one printing machine – it soon grew to four machines, with significant investment in new machinery to meet demand for Supreme’s products.
Dave said: “We went from one machine, printing the whole material we used to make bags and as demand grew, we invested in two brand new machines and which let us expand our range of bags and products. We were working with internationally-known brands like Burberry and Rolls Royce and we couldn’t keep up with demand.
“At that time we also opened a London office, and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher opened it.”
At the time Supreme created bags for a huge range of things the general public would recognise from the little bags the pieces of “pie” came in with the Trivial Pursuit board game through to DHL envelopes.
When the business’ focus changed to provide more specialist pouches and bags designed to be filled using continuous machinery, and with printing and design of the film used to make the bags provided by trusted partners, Dave’s role changed and he moved to managing the dispatch function of Supreme.
The change has its benefits says Dave: “I used to work shifts and now I only work days, which is great and I’m more or less my own boss.
“I’ve seen lots of change since starting at Supreme 43 years ago. Technology has changed and our parent company ITW has invested. I still really enjoy working here and I’m glad my mate mentioned there were jobs going all those years ago!”