Trade Printers : Rising Web Lifts BoatsOctober 2011 By Erik Cagle
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.
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.