“We feel it is a pretty stable market; we put a lot of stock into it,” Ambrose says of the religious sector. “People will always seek spiritual guidance, in good times and bad. And man will always be on a quest to learn about God.”
While the market may never go away, it does seem to be insulated, to a degree, from the threat of a wholesale shift to online dissemination. Can it be that the congregational nature of religious groups calls for portable, tangible literature and educational documents? Ambrose himself offers a printing epiphany.
“The more important a subject is, the more likely people are going to want it printed out,” he says. “It’s important to them, so they want to touch it, feel it and discuss it with other people. But it’s not altogether removed from the threat of electronic alternatives.”
Whether divine intervention has anything to do with print’s survival in the religious sector is an argument for another day, but it certainly has served Ambrose Printing well since the 1930s. Whenever its religious clients wanted to speak, Ambrose would clear its throat. That meant investing in whatever equipment necessary to fit the needs of the customers. Or, as Ambrose puts it, “We do all of their blocking and tackling.” Knowing the sector and its needs has made Ambrose Printing a valued partner for the religious space.
Not that the company, which posted sales of $9.3 million in 2010, hasn’t seen its share of challenges. For years, Ambrose Printing has specialized in publications printing—media guides and programs—for collegiate sports programs. In the past three years, there has been a concerted effort among cash-strapped programs to shift much of the information that would normally be included in a media guide to an official online Website. Plus, the NCAA ruling body that governs collegiate sports has handed down edicts limiting the page counts of media guides to keep schools on a level playing field, so to speak.