A COMPANY founded by a man with a passion for painting and Brentford FC is celebrating fifty years of business.
Octink, a sign company in Commerce Road, Brentford, was founded by Ealing born Tony Tyler in 1962, then named Allsignsgroup.
His son Will, 43, who is now chief executive, said: “My father quite literally began with a brush. He was an apprentice for about four years before he went out as an individual sign writer. He used to do traditional sign-writing on the sides of buildings and vehicles, and then started to write the numerals to show pricing on the boards outside petrol stations.”
The company quickly expanded employing predominantly family members and local residents.
Tony's father and brothers were all involved in expanding the enterprise, which now has a workforce of 120.
Will added: “He didn’t want to run a massive fleet of vehicles. He was just a very local man who supported Brentford FC. He used to take me to matches and was a member of the local rotary club”.
After university, Will worked in the City, helping his father with the business at weekends.
He said: “I joined the company in 1990 but even before that I’d started to get involved. My dad wasn’t very computer literate so I helped him out with that. But I just don’t have the same artistic flair that he had."
Tony died suddenly from a heart-attack in 1994 and his son took over the running of the company. Will's sister, Charlotte, now also works as the company secretary.
Octink pioneered green methods by recycling as much as possible and has scooped a place in the Sunday Times Best Green Companies for the last three years.
Will drives to work on an electric motorcycle and priority parking is given to employees who use environmentally-friendly cars or who car-share. As the official supplier of signposts, banners and branding to the RHS Chelsea Flower Will attributes part of his eco-friendliness to his grandfather’s allotment.
“Charlotte and I used to work on the allotment in the backgarden. I’m trying to get my two daughters interested in our veggie patch at home though it doesn’t seem to be working too well at the moment.”
Although the business may have expanded, Tony's signage company is still firmly attached to its Brentford roots and with Will's cousin, Ed, and his brother-in-law, Stuart, now on-board, the company is very much a family business.
Will said: “We do what we can for Hounslow, and we want to do more for the community."