UP CLOSE: Tom Wood, managing director of St Andrews Press in Wells
By Tim Lethaby
16th Jul 2021 | Local News
Wells Nub News aims to be supportive to every element of the community from business and shops to people and charities, clubs and sports organisations.
Everyone is finding it tough at the moment and are desperate to get back to normal.
We are profiling some of these local businesses, people and groups regularly over coming weeks in a feature called UP CLOSE IN WELLS in the hope that we can be a supportive springboard for their full return to normal.
Today we talk to Tom Wood, the managing director of St Andrews Press in Wells, who talks about the family tradition of running the business.
During a Q and A session he also talks about the impact coronavirus has had on independent businesses, but also about all the great aspects of Wells as a city.
Tell us what your role involves from day to day and what are the key elements of the job?
My role is as managing director or I am often referred to as The Big Cheese to my colleagues. A key role I undertake is working on ensuring our products and services meet demand and that we have one eye on the future.
As a result we have invested in new systems and machinery to target popular and emerging markets.
We have a great team, with vast experience, so my day to day role is flexible and can range from managing workflow to covering production roles within the business where necessary. Nobody let's me near the design department though!
Tell us a bit about your personal business background Tom - do you live locally?
I am a Wells boy born and bred and although I have moved away for short periods I do consider it my home. In 2017 I started to work at St Andrews Press after my father sadly passed away after a short illness.
He ran the business since the early 1980s after taking over from his father, so I am proud to take the reigns – something he never would have expected I'd do.
Prior to working for St Andrews Press I worked for Capita as a software tester. Shorter hours but not as challenging!
What do you like about Wells? How are you involved in the local community?
Moving away from Wells and the local area certainly made me realise what a great place it is. With the Mendip Hills and the Somerset Levels right on my doorstep, Wells is a great place for walking, cycling and running.
In the town, Wells Cathedral, the Bishop's Palace and Market Place are jewels in the crown, and as I have become older and now have a son I definitely appreciate them more. Wells also has plenty of activities to get involved in and I enjoy coaching a team at under-12 level for Wells City Football Club, as well as trying to help community projects as much as I can through the business.
The coronavirus pandemic had a big impact on everyone - how did it effect you?
The pandemic did have an initial impact on business and there has been reduced demand for certain types of work, for example, event printing. However, without meaning to sound political, we are extremely fortunate to live in a country with a first world economy that, in general terms, supports it's people and businesses.
The silver lining is that some areas are booming such as greetings cards and art printing, and all in all we have performed well so far. We certainly hope that 2021 brings an end to the pandemic and that all local businesses are able to come out on the other side.
What businesses do you like and use in Wells?
Probably more than I can remember! I was extremely sad to see Andre's Café close and I feel for all of our hospitality and leisure businesses during these times.
Shopping and eating locally is really important to me and I love to try and support the independents. My most admired business, although admittedly I am no longer a customer there, is Don's Hairdressers.
What a great guy who has snipped the locks of four generations of men in my family and has seen it all in Wells!
The lockdown has been very difficult for many people - how do you think that Wells as a city has coped?
Considering myself fortunate to still be working and not at home, I can only imagine how difficult it has been for people working at home with children, or for people who are ill or isolated. We have tried to support Wells Coronavirus Network who have done an incredible job of co-ordinating volunteers to support vulnerable and isolated people.
I know many people who have gone out of their way to volunteer or just simply help their neighbour which is great to see and I am sure means a great deal to people.
If there was one thing in Wells you would change, what would it be?
This is a difficult one so I am going to go for something very trivial. I would love to see Christmas trees back on each High Street shop.
When I was growing up they used to look fantastic with coloured lights and not just plain white ones. I would also like to go back to pre-internet times as I just think people and in particular children were happier, healthier and less anxious.
If you had one message for the residents on Wells, what would it be?
Try to bare in mind how lucky we all are and please support the local area as much as you can in the coming months and years.
If you could choose one famous person to play you in a movie about your life, who would it be and why?
Without question Robin Williams. I am sure he could even make my fairly normal life funny! Brad Pitt for stunt double obviously.
You can check out the St Andrews Press website here.
See our other UP CLOSE profiles:
Would you like to be the subject of an UP CLOSE profile or do you know someone who we should feature? Contact [email protected]