PBM Graphics — True to Their Heritage
The game was called Pokémon, short for pocket monster. Almost immediately, the cards grew into a national obsession for children.
“We had no clue just how big Pokémon would become. It was an overnight success that went from an initial run of a few hundred thousand sheets to a three-year phenomenon of printing them day in and day out,” recalls Rick Jones, vice president of national accounts. “We grew our entire card production niche through that.”
The collectible card game craze—including Wizards’ Magic the Gathering (which, at 12 years old, is the leading collectible game card on the market)—was so explosive that it prompted PBM to acquire its longtime finishing and packaging supplier, Wrap-It Corp., located in Howard, SD.
PBM Graphics emerged from humble beginnings. Pegram and his wife, Joanne, set up shop in 1983 in the Research Triangle Park area of central North Carolina, which was fast developing as a leading research and development location for Fortune 100 companies. Hoping to garner some of the printing being placed by the newcomers, the business became a family affair with brothers Garry and Larry, sister Claudia and longtime friend Peter Krusa.
Along with a little help from their friends, some mature equipment and a 4,000-square-foot building, they were able to parlay that early speculation into one of the region’s strongest privately held printing companies.
More Than Just Cards
Rather than let the cards fall where they may, so to speak, PBM Graphics remains in constant evolution mode, much like the ever-evolving Pokémon characters that have passed through their presses. The company recently began transitioning its two Durham, NC, operations into a state-of-the-art, 300,000-square-foot facility on the edge of Research Triangle Park. John Langdon, corporate facilities and maintenance manager, says that the move (slated for completion by June) will bring a lion’s share of the operations into a completely refurbished facility that formerly housed an IBM manufacturing facility.