Moving On Up

May 2017

Printing, photocopying, stationery and artwork gift shop Small Print in Castle Douglas has expanded into larger premises and is supported by the Growth Accelerator Programme. 

It may be ‘small’ by name but Castle Douglas company Small Print certainly has big plans to grow and the past six months have seen it expand into bigger premises and offer a wider range of products and services.

Small Print relocated to the spacious former bank and shop at 84 King Street, from a smaller property at the bottom of the street. The move has enabled owners John and Elisabeth Stansfield to branch out: displaying and selling a wider range of stationery, including an exclusive Fair Trade range, calendars, diaries and gifts, along with children’s craft kits, and prints and products by three well-known Dumfries & Galloway artists: Val Macadam, Anna Wright and Angela Lawrence.

A more extensive studio at the back of the shop has space for bigger equipment, including a large-format printer, enabling the company to further extend its already popular services for artists, reproducing original artwork as quality prints.

In the late 1990s, having both been made redundant from their jobs in West Yorkshire, John, an electronics engineer, and Elisabeth, a polymer chemist, decided to move to Castle Douglas, where Elisabeth’s aunt had lived since 1989.

Small Print owners John and Elisabeth Stansfield, with employee, Alison Murdoch (back)

Keen to raise their daughter Samantha, then nine, in the countryside, they also saw the move as an opportunity to run their own business. They took over an existing small desktop publishing business and trained themselves, while adapting skills they already had: John on the technical side, Elisabeth in customer service and marketing.

“We began by doing business cards, compliments slips, letterheads, cards etc and we could do short print runs which couldn’t be done economically by the larger firms,” says Elisabeth.

“At one point, nearly every poster displayed in Castle Douglas would have been printed by us.”

But, with advancing technology meaning more people now print their own items at home, John and Elisabeth have adapted their business, offering advice and selling products for home computers and printers such as ink, paper and card.

“We also find there is still a core of traditional customers who want us to print their personal stationery for them and some people design items at home but bring them to us to print,” says Elisabeth.

Graphic design is done ‘in house’ by their daughter Samantha who, despite now living in New Zealand and having a young family, works on customers’ designs via email through her own graphic design and art company.

As well as continuing to produce standard print products including brochures, leaflets, flyers and stationery, the large-format printer can do large posters and plans and the company is able to produce orders of any quantity through a quality print partnership.

Creating artists’ prints is a rapidly growing side of Small Print’s business. It works with amateur and professional artists throughout the region and beyond, and can also now print PVC banners and other promotional display products for exhibition stands.

“The prints we produce are as close as we can possibly make to the original work and we want that same quality in these products,” says Elisabeth.

After deciding to take on the lease of the new premises, first occupied by the British Linen Bank and later a Post Office, café and children’s clothes shop, John and Elisabeth felt they needed some expert advice on growing their business.

Working with the Dumfries & Galloway Council and ERDF-funded Growth Accelerator Programme, they were assigned to business advisor Lesley Rogers.

Elisabeth says: “She has worked closely with us since we first made the approach last summer and has been great in co-ordinating various different people to help us.”

Lesley arranged for Small Print to get advice on financial growth, sales and marketing and HR. They currently have one part-time employee, Alison Murdoch, and school leaver Katie Wright on Saturdays, but will be taking on another member of staff and are considering creating a modern apprenticeship for the technical aspects of printing.


Small Print, 84 King Street,

Castle Douglas, DG7 1AD

Tel: 01556 503718. and


If you are looking to grow your business, or for more information about the Growth Accelerator Programme, funded by Dumfries & Galloway Council and the European Regional Development Fund, contact Liz MacPherson or Stephanie Carrick on 01387 260380