AJ IMAGES--All in the Family
"That's when we really took off," Janet notes.
True enough, though the Greebels really hit the jackpot at the 1999 edition of Graph Expo. They attended the show intending to buy an Agfa Sherpa 43 ink-jet proofing system, but that became a bonus when they bought Agfa's automated Galileo computer-to-plate (CTP) system. They also acquired Apogee Pilot, an upgrade to their Taipan RIP, and the cherry of the purchase—a six-color MAN Roland 700 perfecting press.
"It was only supposed to be a $15,000 purchase, not $2.5 million!" Janet exclaims.
Two weeks after delivery, AJ Images was performing 80 to 90 percent of its jobs on the digital equipment. By the third week, they were fully CTP and had shut down their imagesetters.
"I was very adamant about getting into this and doing it immediately," Arnold states. "With that kind of investment, my personal opinion is that it should start paying for itself from day one. I'm not going to experiment and play games. Get everything running correctly right at the beginning and utilize it."
The technology has paid off in spades for the company. For the two fiscal years ending in 1998, the company boasted a 95 percent growth rate, with annual sales jumping from $865,000 in 1996 to almost $1.7 million in 1998. Sales topped out at just under $2.3 million in 1999, a 112 percent growth rate over sales of $1.07 million in 1997. And Arnold expects the figures for fiscal 2000, which closes out this month, to top $3 million. All of this is done with an employee base of 21 and a one-shift work day.
Now 60 years old, Arnold doesn't plan to rest any time soon. "I feel I can take this company to between $5 million and $6 million myself," he predicts. And when he says myself, he means it. Arnold is the sole member of the AJ Images sales force.