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Unigraphic Inc. : Widening the (Digital) Gap

June 2012 By Erik Cagle, Senior Editor
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New England has long enjoyed a string of disruptive influences. Paul Revere stirred the masses against the British, and even helped chuck some Lipton overboard during the Boston Tea Party in 1773. William Lloyd Garrison founded the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, calling for the emancipation of all slaves. A number of Beantown writers left their mark on society, including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. And Ralph Waldo Emerson challenged us through his essays and poems.

(And, for you sports fans, we couldn’t possibly leave out the 2004 Boston Red Sox and their improbable comeback from a 3-0 series deficit against the arch-rival New York Yankees en route to the eventual World Series title. So, we’ll add Dave Roberts and his game four steal of second while trailing by a run in the ninth inning.)

Well, not quite a half-hour north of Boston is one of the printing industry’s noise makers, a firm that is well aware that change can be necessary and good. UniGraphic Inc., of Woburn, MA, has witnessed a revolution of its own since its 1964 founding as a prepress house. Certainly, any printing company that has survived nearly 50 years has needed to make adjustments along the way in order to keep the doors open. But the brother trio of Bob, Mike and Jack Quinlan have grown their business from roughly a $19 million entity in 2008 to $31 million in revenues last year, with targeted sales of $38 million for 2012.

Sure, some of the boost in sales was aided by the acquisition of two firms: Synergy Graphics of Wilmington, MA, in 2005 and Vermillion of Derry, NH, in 2009. But the Quinlans have been aggressive in their approach to growth since acquiring the firm in September of 2000. UniGraphic was a straight-ahead commercial printer at that point but, within the next eight years, the firm would add wide- and super-wide-format printing, digital printing, direct mail and fulfillment to its menu.

“I was always pushing the previous owners to diversify and grow,” explains Bob Quinlan, president. “After we bought the company, we added wide-format the next year, then digital printing the following year. We’re on our fourth generation of HP Indigo. 

“About four years ago, we moved into direct mail. It seemed that at every single new business pitch in which I participated, the customer was looking for a full-service shop. We’ve become very sophisticated with mailing, and we’re now HIPAA compliant. Protecting client data and their lists is extremely important.”

 

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