2021 Innovator of the Year: AAA Flag & Banner Stays Ahead of Industry Trends
In today’s printing industry, the concept of innovation is wide in definition, but rather narrow in its goal. Leading companies have grasped many tools to define themselves, increase profitability, and differentiate. They utilize new technologies, systems integration, an expanded product mix, exemplary customer service, and more.
As a group, the eight companies included in the 2021 class of Printing Impressions’ Innovators of the Year demonstrate new approaches that can move printing businesses forward and possess strong insight into where the industry is going. Even amid the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, these companies succeed, grow, focus, and inspire.
This year’s innovators were nominated by a group of printing industry experts and consultants, who identified them as notables. The summary of AAA Flag & Banner that follows shares what makes this company innovative, interesting, and exceptional. The insight it presents may provide the inspiration you need to take your company to a new level, or in a new direction.
AAA Flag & Banner | Los Angeles
AAA Flag & Banner is a producer of wide-format graphics, produced on a grand scale. Founded in 1971 by Howard Furst, the company is now run by his son, Craig Furst, who serves as president and CEO. Though based in Los Angeles, AAA Flag & Banner also has production facilities in San Francisco and Miami, where it serves the sporting, entertainment, and event industries.
About the company, Marci Kinter, VP of Government & Regulatory Affairs for PRINTING United Alliance, says, “AAA Flag & Banner always seeks new ways to improve their operations — through the products offered as well as partnerships formed. They are impressive in the actions taken to meet their customers’ needs and to anticipate trends, not only toward quality, but working to create a more sustainable industry.”
AAA Flag & Banner has a broad range of wide-format equipment on its production floors, including printers from EFI VUTEk and HP, and finishing technologies from Zünd and MultiCam. The company recently ordered a VUTEk 5r+ printer from EFI, and is considering investment in a high-
production, textile-focused printer. The goal of these new capital investments is to increase both capacity and capability.
While the sports and entertainment segment saw suppressed activity and widespread cancellations during 2020, Craig Furst sees a strong resurgence coming for that space, and is in an aggressive hiring mode in response. This is driven, Furst says, by a resurgence in the markets they serve. On the backside of the COVID-19 pandemic, he believes event graphics of many kinds will change from static, printed elements into displays that are more experiential in nature — a change that could include fabricated and other elements that deliver a more immersive experience.
Among the company’s priorities is a strong commitment to sustainability. Furst reports that his organization has worked to develop new materials that can be remanufactured into “next-life products.” This activity speaks to a business seeking better methods, and a new path forward.
Furst notes one way the team at AAA Flag & Banner stays ahead of the pack is through a three-fold commitment to understanding the new materials that can help them continue to innovate, an interest in harnessing the benefits of new technologies, and a strong commitment to its team. This year marks the company’s 50th year in business, and Furst says its priorities have “provided 50 years of brand recognition and success. We’ve built a name in this industry, particularly in our space.”
Looking at the wide-format industry as it moves forward, Furst sees industry consolidation on the horizon, meaning there will be fewer, but larger, players. Even given that reality, he sees space for businesses to grow. “There is opportunity in wide-format even with the saturation we’re seeing,” he points out. “You just need to find it.”