A Quantum Leap--From Foresight to Fortune...a Gamble Pays
BY CHERYL A. ADAMS
Suicide. That's what industry experts said Norm Friedman was committing by investing in a startup printing operation back in 1992.
The economy was depressed, the commercial printing market was overly saturated and competition was so fierce, several local printers had already gone out of business. Opening new doors when others were closing theirs would surely be death by design.
Fortunately for Quantum Color, the bank didn't see it that way.
Name: Quantum Color
Location: Morton Grove, IL
Annual Sales: $28 million
Key Markets: Advertising agencies, design firms, corporations
The new company's loan was approved and, a year later, the gamble paid off to the tune of nearly $6 million in sales. In 1994, revenues soared to $17.5 million and, by year-end 1997, Quantum had exceeded its own expectations, generating an astounding $28 million in business.
Because of an ailing economy, not despite it, 1992 was the perfect time to open a state-of-the-art sheetfed printing facility. The economic stall allowed company founder Friedman (who recently retired) to take advantage of below-market prices on the best printing equipment available. Since other printing companies had closed their doors, he was also able to hire a handful of eager sales reps, who might have otherwise been unemployed.
With talented employees and highly productive equipment in place, Quantum opened its doors in July 1992 and, from day one, started growing its business until the walls of the 18,000-square-foot facility were bursting at the seams. The young company had literally outgrown itself after only five years in business.
That was no surprise to Quantum executives—President and CEO Bill White and Vice President Al Cudahy—who had always envisioned the booming business. When sales skyrocketed in 1995—with customers including Anheuser-Busch, Fuji Color, H.J. Heinz, Kimberly Clark, Kraft General Foods, McDonald's, Mitsubishi and Montgomery Wards—Quantum started preparing for future expansion. The company moved last fall.