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Apple Graphics -- Little Fish, Big Pond

June 2003
By Erik Cagle

Old-fashioned hard work and forging genuine, lasting relationships with clients enabled Kevin Polley's Apple Graphics to carve a niche in the Southern California sheetfed market. And now, with a little help from some new friends, the Duarte, CA-based company (10 miles east of Pasadena) is playing the role of a large, full-service printer within the confines of its 25,000-square-foot facility.

Rarely has a half-size printer, with 50 employees and annual sales approaching $10 million, boasted the firepower that Apple Graphics possesses. Unlike smaller independents, Apple Graphics has enjoyed a wealth of resources ever since its 1999 acquisition by Houston print giant Consolidated Graphics (CGX). An influx of new equipment, highlighted by a new, state of the art six-color Heidelberg Speedmaster 74 press with coater, is opening up even more opportunities for the printer.

"CGX has people in place who worked out national agreements with paper mills, plate manufacturers, ink manufacturers and the like," Polley says. "Those agreements increase our bottom line due to the efficiencies of their purchasing power.

"That's just one example of what separates Apple Graphics from its local competition," he adds. "I have the purchasing power of a $700 million company and I'm competing against businesses that do $5 million to $10 million a year. They just can't compete on the product and service level that I can offer."

Apple for a Mouse

Apple Graphics President Kevin Polley and his sister/Vice President of Manufacturing Nancy Bremer have found success in the Southern California sheetfed market as an important, high-profile cog in the Consolidated Graphics (CGX) wheel.
Still, Apple Graphics had made a name for itself prior to joining CGX. For nearly 25 years, Polley has enjoyed a solid working relationship with the Walt Disney Co. It started in 1979, with Apple Graphics providing printed envelopes to the entertainment giant, and grew by leaps and bounds after Disney closed its in-plant shop in 1986.

But Disney isn't the only major entertainment company doing business with Polley—20th Century Fox, MGM Studios & Casinos and Universal Studios also provide a large industry footprint for the printer. Watson Pharmaceuticals, Nestle and Princess Cruise Lines are also among Polley's clientele.

Despite the regal corporate stature, Kevin Polley is able to get eye-level with his customers; he fosters personal relationships built on respect, friendship and admiration.

"It's lunch every day, two dinners a week and a ball game on Saturday. My customers become my friends—the people I hang out with," Polley says. "Clients are part of our family run company."


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