Allegra Reno — Little Puppy, Big Kennel
“We’re currently focusing on manufacturing accounts,” Weir explains. “In the past, this has been the playground for print brokers, but with our reputation, I believe a lot of doors will open for us.”
Weir, too, has opened a lot of doors since entering printing. Once upon a time, he was a mining engineer in the coal industry. Looking for a change, he enrolled at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, emerged from its business school with an MBA and decided he wanted to be his own boss. The printing industry, he felt, was relatively affordable and manageable in terms of ramping up a business.
A few Iteks and a couple of Ryobis later, Allegra Reno evolved from quick printer into copying and, finally, the four-color realm. Along the way, Weir augmented his offerings with a full-service direct mail center.
Bread ’n Butter Color
The full-color work is Allegra Reno’s bread and butter, hence the two outside sales reps pounding the pavement. The key is marketing the company as a four-color printer, since much of the perception of Allegra Reno is that of a quick print shop.
“The traditional quick print model of people walking in and buying stuff does not work in the four-color market. You’ve got to promote and sell your capabilities,” Weir says. “The people who buy four-color printing also have other outside salespeople calling on them, so you need to be competitive.”
Another aspect that has enabled Allegra Reno to be competitive on a local level is its strong ties to the community. Knowlton is the education co-coordinator for Business Networking International (BNI) in the Reno/Sparks area and networks extensively through community and professional organizations.
“Growing a business is not about waiting for customers to walk in your door, but going out and building relationships with them,” he says.