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Hurricane Sandy Exacts Toll on Printers As Well

November 2, 2012
PHILADELPHIA—The latest Storm of the Century, Hurricane Sandy, unleashed a fury of destruction on the New Jersey shore and New York City, claiming the lives of roughly 100 people, leaving millions without power and, for many, leaving homes and businesses in ruins.

While it is too early to speculate on the total degree of impact suffered by the printing community, Printing Impressions was able to touch base with a number of businesses with facilities in the areas hardest hit by the storm. More information on their statuses will be provided as it becomes available.

"I've talked to about a half-dozen companies affected," said Tim Freeman, president of Printing Industries Alliance (PIA), the affiliate which serves the New York/North Jersey region, hit hardest by Sandy. "The ones were not hearing from have been hit bad. A couple of companies lost power, one had its roof blown off and has water damage."

PIA sent out a letter to membership on Friday, but with mail delivery an uncertainty in the heaviest impacted regions, it has been included here as a courtesy. The affiliate is offering services from placing work to dealing with insurance companies, getting assistance from the federal government. Help is being offered to PIA members and non-members alike.

"We've gotten responses from printers around the country, offering help," Freeman notes. "We'll do what we can."

Earthcolor, based in Parsippany, NJ, is operating with minimal difficulty. As of Thursday, the Cedar Graphics' New York location and two of EarthThebault’s three New Jersey facilities are open. The Ronkonkoma, Parsippany (Pomeroy) and Moonachie locations all have power and are in operation. The Parsippany (Walsh) facility is without power. 

"If you currently have work within this location, rest assured that EarthColor has instituted its disaster recovery plan and you will be notified by our team regarding your project and timelines," the company said on its Website.

Philadelphia-based Bartash didn't suffer any technical or power issues, according to Eric Roberts, director of sales.

"We arranged for hotel rooms for employees and we ran this 24/7 business as best as we could," Roberts said. "We produce publications throughout the East Coast and it was our customers that really had the bigger challenge, and hardest hit was the New Jersey coastline.

"Many of our coastal pubs had flooded production facilities. On this side of print manufacturing, we measure the deadlines in hours, not days. Every minute of press time was even more critical, because of many large publications juggling their schedule through a genuine crisis. We had a challenging week, but I will say that our preparedness was a comfort to our customers and to ourselves."

Roberts added that while no printers contacted Bartash for assistance, a number of publishers reached out to them because their print providers were incapacitated. rerouted the work from its Newark, NJ, facility to its plant in Memphis, TN, notes Anthony Zaccone, marketing manager. The Newark branch resumed production on Wednesday.

On the manufacturing side, Agfa Graphics reported that all three of its East Coast facilities were unharmed. "Our plate manufacturing facility in Branchburg, NJ, did not experience any structural damage to the plant or its substations. We are working with JCP&L to restore electricity to this site and estimate it will come online shortly," President Peter Wilkens said in an e-mail to customers.

Agfa's Customer Care Center in Elmwood Park, NJ, is experiencing some system limitations, and calls are being rerouted to centers in Chicago and Los Angeles. Wilkens also noted that product delivery may experience a backlog but that Agfa is working to ensure goods are delivered in as timely a manner as possible.

Graphic Art System/Eagle Systems of Ocean, NJ, reported that while the Eagle factory escaped damage both inside and out, the community has not fared as well. "The area where our factory is located is looking like a war zone and is shut down by the authorities," Mike King, company president, said in an e-mail to customers. "There is no power and we don't expect power until sometime next week. Our employees have all reported in safe with their families and are also dealing with their own personal devastation as well."

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