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August 2002

In 1996 it was becoming increasingly clear to Anthony and Robert Lienau, co-founders of Trend Offset Printing, that the Southern California market which gave birth to their thriving business—from a $15 million printer less than 10 years previously to nearly $80 million—was just about tapped of growth potential.

Before long, the Los Alamitos, CA-based printer was embarking on a national expansion plan, first in Carrollton, TX (a Dallas suburb), followed by Jacksonville, FL. It proved a prophetic move by Anthony Lienau, company chairman.

"We were profitable within our first three months in Texas," notes Todd Nelson, president and COO of Trend Offset Printing. "It was at that moment we knew it would be an important piece in our growth on a national level."

For a company with the word "trend" in its name, Trend Offset Printing has bucked a few, starting with its marriage of the heatset and coldset web offset printing cultures. Coldset printing in a heatset plant is akin to finding Pepsi Cola in a Coke machine, or perhaps seeing a Cessna plane in a used car lot. They have something in common, but it's largely acknowledged that the two traditionally don't belong under the same roof.

Jeff Sweetman, CEO of Trend Offset Printing, feels it is the melding of the print cultures, along with technology and a national presence, that enables the company to set itself apart from competitors.

"Our diversity creates a more recession-proof printing model," he says. "We manufacture heatset, coldset and combination products. Hundreds of weekly, bi-weekly and monthly publications benefit from our plants nationwide. We've created a culture with common new equipment and standards at three large web printing plants being applied to a wide range of publication, catalog and directory markets across the United States. We build plants organically from the ground up, all new with equipment common to all facilities.

Another trend the company has avoided is that of negative sales growth in this struggling economy. In fact, Trend Offset is posting enviable numbers for a healthy financial atmosphere; projected revenues have risen from $182 million in 2001 to nearly $200 million by year's end. Previous strides have also been lengthy; sales ballooned from $120 million in 1999 to $151 million in 2000.

Open Communication

"When it comes to our growth, the level of communication we continue to keep with our customers before we make any big purchasing decisions is a huge factor," Nelson says. "We have a strong connection with what's happening with our customer base, and we're light on our feet to be able to make decisions that complement that. When I say light on our feet, if it means we need to buy an $8 million press, it doesn't take an act of Congress to do that. We have a structure in place that can get it approved very quickly.


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