The story begins with Val Blomfield as Foreman of one of Auckland’s largest Signshops N. A. SUCKLING LTD.
Colin Blomfield, (Val’s son,) served his apprenticeship at Sucklings with his father.
In 1955 the building was sold and Mr. Suckling decided to close the sign business.
Colin suggested to his father that they go it alone and so on 21st November. 1955 a new company Blomfield Signs ltd was formed. Val and Colin were the directors & Val’s wife Gwen reluctantly offered to help out temporarily as secretary / office lady, a position she held until her retirement some 25 years or so later.
The first premises were in Waverley St, off upper Queen St in an old wooden building which had been shifted there from Queen St where it had been a hotel in early Auckland.
Most of the staff from N. A. Suckling transferred to the new company & the business grew & prospered. After several years, often working seven days weeks plus nights, it became obvious that the premises were too small & the very narrow Waverley St commercially unsuitable.
So Colin & Val set out to find a new home for Blomfield Signs. A large wooden villa at 2 Pollen ST Grey Lynn was purchased & partially converted to the needs of a signshop. It was a good to have their own premises & be able to further expand the business. The choice of Grey Lynn proved to be a wise one as the area grew rapidly without the constraints of the inner city, but still only 5 minutes from Queen St. As customer numbers grew it became apparent that vehicle signage was to be a substantial & growing part of their business future, but without an under cover area for large trucks they would be constantly at the mercy of the weather. Colin convinced his father that they would have to build to suit their needs if the business was to continue to take advantage of new clients. Coincidentally, a section complete with an old house just down the road at 32 Pollen St became available. The property was promptly bought, the old house demolished & plans were drawn up to build Auckland’s first “purpose built” sign studio Approximately twelve months later the company moved into their brand new home.
It was like a dream come true… to be able to drive a huge Kenworth truck inside, shut the doors, & work in comfort regardless of the weather outside. Storage of materials was designed to be functional & efficient & separate office areas completed the picture. Natural light was so good that artificial lighting was only needed on dark winter days.
Blomfield Signs has always been an enthusiastic supporter of the N. Z. Sign & display Assoc & both Val & Colin were founder members. Later each served as President for two years & both were honoured with life membership for their services to the sign industry. Over the many years since the company was formed it has won numerous International & national awards including “Sign of the Year”. During the 51 years since 1955, over 40 apprentices were trained, many of whom went on to form their own successful sign companies.
Val worked on till the age of 73 when he finally put away his brushes to enjoy a well earned retirement & to pursue his hobby of oil painting which he continued right up until he passed away.
Colin then ran the business for several years but decided that he should look for a suitable successor to take over when he retired. A likely possibility, Johnathan Maitland, had already shown his ability & willingness to take extra responsibility by managing the company during Colin’s regular overseas trips.
Johnathan had served his apprenticeship under Val & Colin, spent a few years working in Australia & returned to Blomfield Signs to become foreman.
Over the next few years Colin & Johnathan became a successful & happy working team. In a logical progression Johnathan became a director & shareholder, then progressively bought the business & finally the building when Colin retired.
The nationally known reputation for honesty & integrity of Blomfield Signs has happily continued to grow during the changes to digital & electronic technology with Johnathan as it’s enthusiastic proprietor.