Self-Promo Pumps Profits —Sherburne
“When we bought the business,” says Brown, “it was only generating $450,000 in annual revenues. We ran the operation with the two of us and three part-time employees.”
Today, Tri-Lakes employs 10 full-time people, three of whom are graphic designers, and generates annual revenues of $1.5 million. They are building a new 10,000-square-foot facility that will increase production space from 1,000 square feet to 6,000 square feet.
“It will be a state-of-the-art center,” Brown says. “It will include a design center and will cater to our retail business, since we get a lot of people walking in to make copies.”
So how did they grow their four-color volume—and their revenues—so quickly?
A Creative Approach
When Brown made the investment in his first four-color press, he explains that one of his concerns was having enough volume for the press. “We decided to take a creative approach,” he says. “We became a publisher and are now producing a community magazine (The Image) six times per year, with 11 signatures and 165,000 impressions. The magazine is mailed to 13,900 homes. We sell advertising to generate revenue, and we include interesting articles, recipes and some fun stuff.”
For example, various items are hidden within the magazine, and the first 10 people who come into the shop having found the hidden items receive a gift certificate to a local restaurant. “It has been a big hit. People look forward to receiving the magazine. They even call us when they don’t receive it.”
Tri-Lakes is now using the DI press to produce the magazine, touting its increased quality and faster turnaround times in the shop’s own magazine ad.
Building on the treasure theme, the Browns also conducted a direct mail campaign promoting advertisers. It had a treasure chest theme with clues leading to six different businesses. The first person to solve the clues received a gift certificate. The magazine’s advertisers love the innovative marketing approach embodied by this campaign and are thus more willing to advertise. This, in turn, brings more revenues and recognition to Tri-Lakes.