Primary Color — A Change of Scenery

Primary Color is now run by the second generation of the Hirt family. Pictured, from the left, are Mike, Ron, Elizabeth, Walter and Dan Hirt.

THE DESIRE to order all new furniture is almost a reflex reaction for anyone who moves into a new home. After all, who wants to drag a drab, worn-down old sectional into a beautiful new living room?

For Primary Color, the addition of new “furniture” when it relocates from the California towns of Culver City and Irvine to El Segundo and Costa Mesa is not intended as a cosmetic enhancement. The company has opted to pick up stakes due to a growing problem, which is not a problem as much as it is an opportunity. Primary Color saw its growth skyrocket by 20 percent to nearly $50 million in sales for 2006 and anticipates a similar swell in 2007.

Thus, the “growing problem” was really Primary Color needing more space in order to accommodate customer needs. According to Dan Hirt, company president, it is a measuring stick of success.

“There are two measures of success for Primary Color,” Hirt says. “The first is sustained profitable growth, which we encourage by institutionalizing continuous process improvement. The second measure—customer satisfaction—cannot exist without the first.”

The company, founded by Walter and Elizabeth Hirt, debuted in 1985 as a prepress operation addressing the needs of the Orange County, CA, market. That was also the year that Dan Hirt, along with brothers Ron (vice president of sales and marketing) and Mike (vice president of production) took the helm from their parents.

Eight-Color Capabilities

Primary Color has since widened its scope to provide a wide range along the product and service spectrum, including eight-color, 40˝ sheetfed work, very-large format output and variable data digital printing.

Its core vertical targets include advertising agencies, major entertainment companies, the automotive sector and corporate marketing communications groups.

With 280 employees operating in a total of 67,000 square feet, Dan Hirt felt the company needed to reevaluate its plant production space. Thus, the decision was made to transfer assets from Culver City to El Segundo this August, followed by the Irvine to Costa Mesa migration in early 2008. The net is a near doubling of manufacturing space, which will burgeon to 120,000 square feet when completed.

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