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AMERICAN BINDERY DEPOT -- A No-nonsense Approach

April 2002
BY ERIK CAGLE


Chris Scarano took a quick drag from his cigarette, cased the warehouse and shook his head with just a hint of disgust.

It was unusually quiet for a Tuesday morning at American Bindery Depot in Edison, NJ, not at all indicative of the activity that buzzes through the plant on a daily basis. Scarano wanted to show his crew in action at full throttle to a group of visitors, but a large order had yet to arrive, so the pace was more subdued. Still, Scarano didn't like the timing.

"It's hardly ever like this," Scarano confides, bursting out a plume of smoke.

Not that Scarano or his partner, Anthony Cuccinello, had anything to prove to their guests. This 137-employee operation—along with Hand Works, a 35-person inserting, collating, tipping and shrink-wrapping division—is a tightly run ship. Everyone in the company is versatile enough to switch from station to station, whether it's stitching (a 24-hour-a-day operation), folding, gluing or diecutting.

Even Scarano and Cuccinello, despite the fact that they're nattily attired ("Tony usually wears sweats," Scarano reveals, "but he looks good today.") work on all the machines themselves. There's no room for strict pencil-pushers or other one-trick ponies.

"Everybody here does more than one thing," Scarano adds. "If you don't multi-task, then you're out of here."

The pair went headfirst into the business three years ago. They met while working at Creative Response in Wood Ridge, NJ. Cuccinello left to open his own cutting and folding operation, and remained in contact with Scarano. The pair came to the conclusion that they could leverage each other's strengths as a team—Scarano handles sales, estimating and scheduling while Cuccinello oversees manufacturing and billing—and carve a niche in the competitive North Jersey/New York metro market.

American Bindery Depot was thus born in April of 1999, consisting of eight folders and two diecutters. The company generated a respectable $1.8 million in sales, but has since built its base to $7 million annually by servicing printer clientele such as Quebecor World, Sandy Alexander, Banta Direct, Barton Press, Pictorial Offset, Command Web and Georgian Press, among others. In the process, its equipment repertoire has expanded to include 16 folders, four stitchers, three diecutters and seven shrink wrappers.

Beating the Competition

"Our growth has pretty much gone as planned, but it is a little bit surprising," Cuccinello says. "We have quite a bit of competition, but we're aggressive about customer service and in keeping them happy."
 

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