"They don't have any spare cash," he says.
Apparently, they aren't alone. Hobbs admits that business has been rather slow for his wide-format machine, which he added in October. He points out that he has needed time to get accustomed to the system and its software.
Now, having grown slightly more comfortable with the machine, Hobbs is stepping up the intensity. He's finding new ways to market the service. For example, he is using the system to print mission statements for companies, which, in turn, post them on their walls. These huge displays grab attention and serve as reminders of the company's goals.
Hobbs is also considering other possible applications. He's printing wide-format samples for print brokers, whom he hopes will bring in new business. He sees a strong client base among printing companies, adding that most print shops still haven't invested in wide-format systems. That's why he installed his Hewlett- Packard in the first place.
"I wanted to widen my base, but didn't want to go into direct competition with printers," he says.
Academy Blue Printing in Beachwood, OH, is one printer that provides wide-format services. President Gary Laureno notes that many print jobs can be repurposed for wide format.
"The same customers that buy printing for marketing and promoting their products and services want wide format," he says. "They want it for trade shows, presentations, large pieces for their own office. Customers say, 'Take the same digital file you printed the process-color job from and give us a 25x33˝ piece for our lobby. Change a couple of things in the file, then print 10 more. We want to send them to all of our sales offices.' It complements the commercial printing that we do."
Academy Blue operates a 36˝ Hewlett-Packard model. At press time, the company was awaiting the arrival of Hewlett-Packard's latest wide-format product: the 54˝ DesignJet 3000CP series.