X-Igent Printing : Taking a New DirectionSeptember 2009 By Julie Greenbaum
BROTHERS Omar Rodriguez and Hugo Cervantes, owners of East Los Angeles-based X-Igent Printing, know a thing or two about starting a commercial printing business from the ground up. When the shop they were working for was acquired by a new owner, they decided to cash in $70,000 of the equity in a home they purchased in 2000 to launch their own brokerage, turned printing operation, in 2001.
It certainly helped that Rodriguez, president of X-Igent Printing, and Cervantes, vice president of operations, have worn many hats throughout their printing careers. Rodriguez formerly worked as a general manager, an operations manager and as a sales representative, while Cervantes got his start even earlier, taking print shop as an elective in junior high. Cervantes later worked as a bindery helper part-time during high school, and then as a pressman.
"After we first opened, we encountered a few obstacles along the way," admits Rodriguez. "But we addressed those problems by hiring a consultant who helped us restructure the company, and implement some new processes and procedures."
One-Stop Shop Ahead
From that point on, the brothers began to purchase equipment and started out by offering both copying and graphic design services, hiring one full-time designer. "We just kept on evolving from there, adding new services and a new product line every year," Rodriguez explains.
Today, the company is a complete one-stop shop, offering color and black-and-white copying; sheetfed offset, digital and wide-format printing; graphic design; advertising specialties/promotional items; and in-house binding and mailing services. The printer produces a wide range of printed products, including brochures, presentation folders, postcards and direct mail pieces. Two main vertical markets it now serves include banks and the food service industry, with further plans to service the healthcare industry, including hospitals and doctors.
Since the majority of the work that X-Igent receives requires quick turnarounds, they invested in a four-color Heidelberg Quickmaster DI 46-4 press to complete those jobs. Copying is done on a variety of Canon copiers.
In 2007, the enterprise moved from a 4,000-square-foot facility in City of Commerce to a 6,000-square-foot plant in East Los Angeles. The relocation was a seamless transition, as the company only shut down operation for one day.
"We didn't think the move was going to go as smoothly as it did. At that time, our intent was not to purchase the building we were occupying, but to move because our lease was up," Rodriguez notes. "We started looking for a new building and found one in just two weeks. And, luckily for us, the person that was in the building at that time was actually a customer of ours, who let us move in a week ahead of schedule."