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Next Generation Printing — Namesake Says It All

June 2008 By Cheryl Adams
Managing Editor
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PAUL ROTHSTEIN was selling thermal copy paper (remember that stuff?) out of the back of a borrowed car in 1973. In a former life, he had been a business machine salesman, but suddenly realized that the “real” market was in consumable sales. Looking past the obvious (his traveling salesman selling-out-of-the-back-of-a-car routine), Rothstein saw that there was a growing demand for quality, customer-oriented, fast-turnaround printing.

Shortly thereafter, Canton, MA-based Copytech was born.

In those days, Copytech had a single one-color press and a desktop folder. If the press operator (one of three employees) called in sick, Rothstein had to run the press. Fortunately for him, the pressman rarely missed work, so he was able to concentrate on his main job: selling print. And, sell printing is exactly what Rothstein did—and with a passion. The more he sold, the more money he made, the more he invested in equipment, and the bigger the business grew.

Two decades later, Copytech had grown into a profitable, reputable company—and it had caught the eye of a powerful player that wanted to buy it. The deal went through without a hitch and, in 1995, Rothstein sold Copytech to Lanier Worldwide. The hitches came later, though, when his beloved company started heading south a few years after being sold.

“After several years of Lanier ownership, Paul wanted to purchase the company back,” explains John Rothstein, Nextgen’s current president, an attorney by trade and Paul Rothstein’s son. “When the opportunity came about in 2002 to buy back the depleted assets of Copytech, I started working on various aspects of the somewhat complicated transaction from my law office in New Jersey. (The company was renamed Next Generation Printing, or Nextgen, after the sell-back to the Rothsteins.) Before I knew it, I was spending half my day on Nextgen work—both in the area of law and business strategy.”

Unfortunately, in the years between the sale of Copytech and its subsequent repurchase, the company was reduced to a shell of its former self. Sales were a fraction of where they had been in the Copytech days—and a long way from where they needed to be for Nextgen to survive. When Paul Rothstein sold Copytech, it was generating $15 million in annual revenues. By 2001, sales were less than $3 million.

It would take new technology, new services and new management to turn the business around.

With son John Rothstein (president), father Paul Rothstein (CEO) and long-time industry veteran Bob Fleming (vice president) at the helm, a massive construction project took place and the newly re-acquired printing business relocated. Once their 48,000-square-foot facility was completed, the Rothsteins started filling it with state-of-the-art equipment.
 

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