Following the Lead
Allan Swanson Jr., who is vice president and doubles as production manager/estimator, grew up with printing in his blood; so much so, that many of his relatives tease that he might have been born in the back room of a print shop. He certainly grew up there as a small child, coming in with his father on weeknights, weekends and during the summers.
Today, Swanson Sr., who purchased the company in 1978, is readying for retirement. Kim Swanson holds the business reigns, with the support and assistance of Swanson Jr.
There are 27 employees at Star Print & Mail, including a programmer who specializes in postal issues, such as mailing rates, as well as variable data projects. The company, which was established in 1906 and whose original claim to fame included producing racy burlesque posters for New York and Philadelphia saloons, offers offset and digital printing, a complete bindery and a wide range of mailing services. Clients include national and local corporations, colleges and universities, ad agencies, non-profit groups and general commercial accounts. Interestingly, with all the services that Star Print has to offer, there is no marketing person.
“Our marketing is done mostly by word of mouth,” explains Swanson Sr., noting that the 102-year-old company has had a long time for word to get around. Even without a marketing director, the company had enough volume to fill its two Heidelberg Speedmasters, both six-color, 40? perfectors, one with an aqueous coater.
A surge in sales came in August 2006, when the Swansons installed an HP Indigo 5000 digital press and expanded into variable data printing and direct mail services. (The company had been offering “mailing” services since 1998, but was limited to black-and-white addressing only.) To promote its newly expanded capabilities (literally, in a word), “Mail” was added to the company’s name.