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Bindagraphics--Build It And They Will Come

March 1999
In the early '70s, Marty Anson had a dream: Build a better bindery. Now, 25 years later, the $15 million bindery "kingpin" is at it again. This time, he's expanding with new satellite facilities.


BY CHERYL ADAMS


He wasn't sitting in the middle of a corn field, like Kevin Costner's character in a "Field of Dreams," but F. Martin "Marty" Anson had a vision just the same 25 years ago: "Build it and they will come."

Anson wanted to build a better trade bindery—one that would be a solid performer, a state-of-the-art operation that could weather the fierce storm of competition—a storm that could, and often did, put binderies out of business.

Why would Anson, an educated man (he's got an RIT degree), be compelled to open a new finishing operation when others were struggling to survive? Was he crazy?

A lot of people probably thought so—much like the general consensus of Costner's character in a "Field of Dreams." Anson wasn't constructing a baseball diamond in the middle of a corn dynasty, but his vision of building a bindery in Baltimore—in 1973—must have seemed equally insane.

With a bachelor's degree in print management and several years of senior-level management experience in bindery operations, Anson knew that a better bindery was needed in the booming, multimillion-dollar print business. As the controller of Baltimore's Port City Press, Anson was responsible for managing the company's Production Standards Program. He says he "spent a lot of time in the bindery" and, to put it nicely, the operation "needed attention. There was much room for improvement."

But Anson didn't want to improve on an existing operation: He wanted to start from scratch.

Starting From Scratch
So, on January 2, 1974, Anson (with his pregnant wife, who was expecting their third child) put his money on the line. The doors of Bindagraphics opened, and his business "hunch" was right on the money. In fact, that hunch—to build a better bindery—turned out to be a pot of gold, when Anson realized he was doubling revenues almost immediately. ("It's easy to double your sales when you're new," he quips.)

Anson went to the bank for the business loan with a projection of $110,000 in first-year sales. In reality, he doubled that with revenues of $220,000. Second year, he doubled that with sales of $374,000. In its third year, Bindagraphics' sales hit $550,000, which was enough for Anson to know his investment was solid and his dream was coming true.

 

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