Staff at a Teesside print and marketing franchise are celebrating after being named the best company in the AlphaGraphics world.

AlphaGraphics North-East (AGNE), which is based in Stockton, is part of the global AlphaGraphics network, which consists of nearly 300 independently-owned franchises around the world, with businesses in the UK, US, Brazil, China, Mexico, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The company was recently named as franchise of the year – only the second time the accolade has been awarded outside of the US. It is also ranked in the top three franchises worldwide for overall sales.

AGNE managing director Andrew Dalton said: “The award is made by worldwide HQ in Denver, Colorado, and is awarded annually to the best operated franchise in the world. It’s based on operational efficiency, sales, marketing, and profitability.

“It feels fantastic to have won; after 28 years in the network, it’s something we have always aspired to and only once before has it been awarded outside the US – to Brazil.”

As well as ending the year with the franchise award win, fellow AGNE director Sean Costigan has also celebrated his 25th anniversary with the firm.

He added: “I started my career in print at the age of 16 and have worked in the industry since then. In one of my earlier roles, I was selling to AlphaGraphics, which is how I met Andrew.

“We got on very well and, after working with him as a supplier for a couple of years, he offered me a job. At that point, he went off to work in another business for 15 years, and when he came back, we split roles, with him as MD and I looking after sales and marketing.

“I didn’t imagine I’d still be here after 25 years! The highlight of those years has to be the people I’ve met and worked with. I have made lots of very good friends over the years and I still keep in touch with many former employees, suppliers and customers.”

Andrew added: “Our fantastic team are paramount to our success, and Sean and I wish to thank existing employees and those who have been around over the years, as well as our loyal suppliers and customers.”