A Bolton business with a famous family at its helm is going from strength to strength after it relocated to a business park on the edge of the borough.

Amscreen relocated to Logistics North around a year and a half ago in a switch which brought together two teams in Middlebrook and Westhoughton.

The Bolton business started around 15 years ago when Amshold, a company belonging to entrepreneur and face of The Apprentice Alan Sugar, took over Comtech, a company boasting a 15-year history in the area already. Sir Alan, now Lord Sugar, became the chairman and his son, Simon Sugar, became the chief executive.

But on a tour of the site at Logistics North, which manufactures and monitors thousands of advertising screens for use across the continent, Mr Sugar told The Bolton News his rise to the top was not put on a plate for him.

The Bolton News: A tour of the site at Logistics North

He said: "When I left school I was interested in electronics and I worked at Dixons Group for five years in their stores. After five years I came into Amstrad, as it was at the time, as a junior and I worked through the ranks. 

"It wasn't like 'You're going to run this business'. I had a good upbringing and it helped me a lot."

Before the takeover by Amshold, Comtech specialised in live monitoring technology for use in items like vending machines.

It was the idea of Mr Sugar and his number two Sean Keenan to add this live monitoring technology into advertising screens.

The Bolton News: A tour of the site at Logistics North

He said: "It was the start of media owners putting screens in the ground but I saw it was done poorly. 

"It was sort of five screens here, five screens there, and at some stage it needed a company to design a product with scalability."

As the size of these products increased from small examples at petrol stations to large examples at roadsides, so too did the demand for these products.

One attempt to relocate to Logistics North was scuppered by the arrival of coronavirus in 2020 but another attempt to relocate was always on the cards.

The Bolton News: A tour of the site at Logistics North

Mr Sugar said: "It's hard having two different offices in two different locations. It's important for people to talk to one another. 

"The engineers need support from the factory and the factory need support from the engineers. Now we're all under one roof it makes a lot of sense."

Crucially, there was no consideration of a relocation away from Bolton. An association with the area of 30 years is set to last a lot longer.

One reason for this is the importance of the team, which includes longest-serving staff member, now technical director, Steve Whitehead.

The Bolton News: A tour of the site at Logistics North

Mr Sugar said: "It was key because all of the team are from Bolton. That's where the business was founded and it will always remain here. 

"People think 'Why don't you make the screens overseas? It will be a lot cheaper'. But it's not cheaper and the nature of our business is that there are a lot of variants that need care and attention. 

"We have a team who understand the technology. We've been doing this live monitoring for 30 years, it just so happens it's now in the back of screens. 

"There are not a lot of companies to run a network of over 5000 screens across Europe remotely from a call centre upstairs."

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email jack.tooth@newsquest.co.uk or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.