Fast-Track Firms : Creativity Goes a Long Way
On the acquisition front, Foxfire obtained Pinnacle Business Products of Nashville, TN, a reseller that had been outsourcing its print work to Foxfire. Feretti’s firm will benefit from Pinnacle’s kitting and fulfillment operation. Incredibly, the addition of Pinnacle’s sales only accounts for a little more than half of Foxfire’s impressive growth total, with the remainder being organic.
Latest sales: $143.65 million
Previous: $115 million
Change: 25 percent
It’s hard not to like a family-owned business that’s approaching its 75th anniversary, is still in growth mode, and is aggressive about keeping pace with technology and investing in gear that allows it to better serve customers. Throw in a strategic acquisition, and the description fits Walsworth Publishing to a T.
Founded in 1937 by the Walsworth brothers (Don, Ed and Bill) and currently led by the second and third generation executives (CEO Don O. Walsworth and his son, President Don Walsworth), Walsworth Publishing provides web, sheetfed offset and digital printing to the catalog, book and periodical markets. Widely known for producing yearbooks and fast approaching $150 million in annual sales, the firm also operates a wholly-owned specialty publishing subsidiary, Donning Company Publishers.
Walsworth Publishing operates two Missouri facilities (its Marceline headquarters and another in Kansas City), along with plants in Saint Joseph, MI, and Virginia Beach, VA. It was the addition of the Saint Joseph business, acquired from Journal Communications in December of 2010, that helped augment Walsworth Publishing’s organic growth. The deal provided Walsworth with a broader set of sheetfed, web and binding options that increased capacity, and aided its commercial printing endeavors with mailing and fulfillment capabilities.
While the company preferred to keep specifics close to the vest, Walsworth has bolstered its equipment arsenal in recent years, buying a new saddlestitcher and picking up gear to better streamline product flow. Its production lines were redesigned to improve ergonomics (reducing lifting and operator fatigue), and new hardware and software have helped reduce time-consuming steps. In-line inkjetting, product bundle banding options and sort options were all enhanced to cut down on customers’ postage outlays.