"We're aggressively growing this part of our business and have increased the sales staff this year," says Chavonne. "We've just contracted for a new [KBA Colora] offset press expected in 1999 that has been configured to offer tremendous commercial printing flexibility with consecutive pages of color and variable web width.
"We're planning a commercial printing market study for later this year," he continues. "Our goal is to have the press time on the new press equipment completely filled between our daily newspaper, three weekly publications and commercial printing. We also plan to add to our existing sheetfed equipment in order to meet the needs identified in the market study."
Not only does Fayetteville study its product market, it also studies its marketability as a commercial printer. According to Chavonne, there have been some "learning opportunities" and challenges.
"We learned very early that commercial printing and newspaper printing are very different," he says. "You don't have the opportunity to rerun the ad the next day when you've made a mistake on a large commercial printing job. You also don't enjoy the margins that a typical newspaper publisher enjoys. There is more competition and greater demand for quality. This increased attention to quality and detail that comes with being in the commercial printing business makes us better newspaper publishers as well."
As North Carolina's oldest newspaper publisher, the Fayetteville Observer-Times has also enjoyed great success in positioning its operation as a direct marketing company, rather than just a commercial printer.
"We bring the reputation and business relationships of a newspaper with a 200-year history in this community," Chavonne says. "It helps separate us from the other commercial printers in this highly competitive arena."
To compete in the commercial print market, Fayetteville offers other services that include graphic arts design, database list management, direct mail, newspaper insertion, list fulfillment and information management.