Printing Impressions

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Fast-Track Firms : Creativity Goes a Long Way

December 2011 By Erik Cagle
Senior editor
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Every year, Printing Impressions profile a small cadre of printers that have exhibited strong year-over-year growth. If we had the space and time to do so, we’d spotlight every printer that didn’t end up in the red when compared to the previous fiscal year. Even if your firm’s growth was 0.1 percent, take a bow.

As for the biggest gainers, the commonality between these businesses is their ability to be uncommon. In an economy that has discouraged capital outlay, these printers go against the grain, investing in new equipment and technology, as well as acquiring other printers that mesh with their own offerings. Their chief execs are hard-working and relentless, some on the road constantly, pressing the flesh with customers and finding creative ways in which to ferret out new business.

The following printers offer hope in an industry that has seen its share of adversity in recent years. Perhaps they may offer an idea or two that is applicable to your own business. But, to those who cast the printing industry in a doom and gloom scenario, the following three examples prove that, somewhere, there are sunny skies.

Foxfire Printing and Packaging
Newark, DE
Latest sales: $42.32 million
Previous: $24.10 million
Change: 76 percent

Many companies share a common bond in that their product and service offerings have evolved as time and technologies have dictated. One day you’re manufacturing typewriter ribbon, the next, you’re in search of a niche that will grow legs.

Foxfire Printing and Packaging debuted 20 years ago with a turnkey solution for software packaging. According to founder and CEO John Feretti, Foxfire would design, print and kit the packaging for 31⁄2˝ and 51⁄4˝ discs. Foxfire also acted as a warehouser and distributor.

“Basically, we did all of the back office processing to support (clients’) retail activities, so they could concentrate on being sales and marketing companies,” Feretti recalls.

The software discs soon went the way of the long-playing album (not to mention typewriter ribbon), so Foxfire called an audible and gravitated toward providing in-store signage for large-scale retail chains, ranging from groceries and drugs to apparel, automotive and dollar store environments. A grocery client may need 5,000 signs per week, per store, and a large chain may mean several million signs a week. Feretti notes that since the cost to hang a sign is about eight to 10 times the cost of the sign itself, his company decided to focus on ways clients can reduce their labor costs.
 
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