BATTLING against the odds is often the lot of the small business in this fickle world.

York Polythene and Packaging has had more than its fair share of odds battling and has come out on top.

It has been though the gamut, surviving everything from terrible tragedies to recession and tougher trading conditions.

Now general manager Emma Horrox is hoping the firm will scoop the title of Small Business of the Year, in the 2001 Evening Press Business Awards.

The company employs four people at its Monks Cross base and its success is proved by a massive new order from Thirsk card company Talking Pictures, as reported in the Evening Press in May.

The story began for York Polythene and Packaging in 1982 when friends Bob Emmison and Nick Spencer set up a pitch at Pocklington Market.

Business blossomed and the newly-named SE Polythene became a powerhouse on Pocklington Industrial Estate.

York soon beckoned and the company took premises in Walmgate to become York Polythene and Packaging.

In 1991, the business moved to Pigeon Cote Industrial Estate, which was to become Monks Cross Retail Park.

At its current site in Kathryn Avenue, Monks Cross, the firm had, at one point, 500 customers with a turnover of about £500,000.

However, recession hit and it was suddenly a matter of simple staying afloat.

Then tragedy struck in 1996 when founding partner Mr Emmison died aged only 50.

A second terrible blow hit the company when his brother, Bill, the officer manager, died shortly afterwards.

But through all the trials and tribulations, York Polythene and Packaging survived and now, in 2001, the future is looking bright.

At present, the company is trading 12 per cent up on last year's figures and forecasting to come in at the end of the year with a 25 per cent increase year on year.

Mrs Horrox said: "York Polythene will consolidate for 2001 and will strengthen as a business, but overall our main directive is to be a dynamic, fun and progressive company to both work in and deal with."

Some of the key aims for the rest of 2001 include the company's first radio advertising campaign, which is due to begin on Minster FM in September.

York Polythene is also redesigning its website to make it more informative and create a more up-to-date image.

Mrs Horrox added: "To encourage more customers into the shop we have launched a new loyalty card scheme.

"This means a shop customer can enjoy the same benefits as a large account by fixing price reductions and informing customers of any special offers.

"We have also extended our free delivery radius. Prospecting is done weekly on new areas.

"This has dramatically increased our customer base and also raised our profile and increased awareness.

"If a customer has an inquiry and it is not a current line, we will try to get it for them or get it specially-made if possible.

"If we feel that there may be a market for new products requested by a customer, we will take it on a trial period.

"Staff training is done through weekly sales meetings. This is where all decisions are discussed and the team chat new ideas and strategies to improve sales and service."

Do YOU want to enter your business in the Evening Press Business of the Year 2001 awards? It's easy. Details about the awards - and an interactive entry form - can be found on a new dedicated website at Or entry forms can be obtained from Sky Ferrey, Evening Press Business Awards 2001, PO Box 29, 76-86 Walmgate, York, YO1 9YN, telephone 01904 653051, or email