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West Press : Mastering Each Process

February 2010 By Julie Greenbaum
Associate Editor
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THE STAFF at West Press have always operated on a simple mantra: "If you do a good job and take good care of your customers, then the rest will follow." Although the Tucson, AZ-based company started out as a smaller printer, its goals have been nothing short of large.

Since its outset in 1991, with just seven employees, two copiers and two small duplicators, Joel Levine, founder, set out to transform what was then a franchise copy shop into a commercial printing business that now offers digital, sheetfed offset and wide-format output.

In 2002, West Press became an ESOP company (employee stock ownership plan), which has transformed it into a close-knit organization with a staff that remains passionate about the firm's success. "As an ESOP company, it is nice when we all meet to discuss our triumphs and challenges at work," explains Kristy Scharf, president. "We share as many numbers as we can with our employees and, in turn, they ask a lot of questions and care about the business."

Today, West Press is a one-stop shop offering graphic design, database/list management, printed marketing collateral, training manuals with instructional CDs or DVDs, full-color envelopes, as well as finishing, mailing and fulfillment services. With the medical industry thriving in Arizona, a large portion of its business centers around producing newsletters for chiropractors, dentists, medical suppliers and hospitals. The company also creates newsletters for the independent auto repair and real estate markets.

Operating out of a 27,000-square-foot facility, West Press has 45 employees and generated $51⁄2 million in its most recent fiscal year. More than half of the printer's sales come from out of state, and its newsletter business alone averages about 700 to 800 orders per month.

Invest to Improve

Another growing market is the import and distribution industries in Arizona. While West Press currently produces header cards for tomato packing houses, the company expects to provide even more product as the packing houses handle more produce. With new distribution centers being built in Southern Arizona, Scharf sees an opportunity since many of these new ports are located in small- to medium-sized towns with few, if any, local print providers.

"Larger ports are being built in Arizona to bring more products into the U.S. from Mexico, and want to be a part of this," she points out. "The new and expanded ports will be handling more of the fresh produce that comes into the United States for packaging before distribution."


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