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Trade Printers : Rising Web Lifts Boats

October 2011 By Erik Cagle
Senior editor
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While we certainly don’t want to give in to blatant hyperbole, it isn’t out of line to say that the state of the trade printer in 2011 is downright prosperous. Don’t snicker; if the following small sample of trade printers is any indication, with considerable investments and growth initiatives planned, these firms have ample reason to be downright optimistic about doing business in the future.

The Internet has proven to be something of an elixir, a cure-all tonic for trade printers that were either suffering or stagnating. It has played a large role in the growth, perhaps even salvation, of some trade firms. We’ve encapsulated three notable trade printers, along with a look at what’s fueled their fire and provided confidence in the foreseeable future.

Zoo Printing
Commerce, CA
2010 Sales: $30 million

Dan Doron worked ridiculously long hours in order to build a $50,000 nest egg with which to start a business. He opened a copy shop in 1991, practically working around the clock to make success a reality between operating the business and guerilla marketing efforts after hours—leaving business cards and flyers on automobiles.

Doron generated a respectable $250,000 after his first few years, but that turned into his ceiling for the better part of a decade. In 1999, he purchased a four-color press, expanded nationally via a Web presence to serve the trade, and promptly lost about half of his business following 9/11. But he soon saw the value of gang-run printing.

“Gang-run printing had started, but we pioneered the next level of it,” explains Doron. “Instead of limiting it to postcards and business cards, we started doing letterhead, brochures and envelopes...pretty much everything else. By doing that, we were able to cut overhead and costs dramatically.”

Since then, the company has enjoyed solid year-over-year growth, and Doron states that Zoo Printing now boasts one of the most expansive product lines in the trade (prime products are business cards, postcards, brochures, catalogs and vinyl banners), enabling it to become a one-stop shop for customers. Several other factors have spurred growth:

• In 2007, Zoo embarked on a branded Website program, backed by millions of dollars in development, which has so far yielded 1,500 owners, a figure Doron expects will reach 5,000 in the near future.

• Large-format printing, in the form of vinyl banners, vehicle wraps and trade show graphics, was introduced in 2008.
 

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