Fast-track Firms — Movin’ On Up
Although Kirkwood was a $9 million performer and produced excellent work, it lacked exposure among high-profile customers, says Winship, principal and chief marketing officer. “We were able to add clients such as Arnold Advertising, Exxon Mobil and Royal Caribbean to put Kirkwood on the national stage. Winning the Sappi International Printer of the Year in 2005 and Sappi North American Printer of the Year two out of the last three years reinforced that we’re one of the highest quality printers in the country, and that reputation further fueled our growth.”
Kirkwood Printing stands firm in its commitment to keep pace with client demand by investing in advanced equipment, new hires and value-added services.
“In the last three years, we have made more than $7 million in capital investments, highlighted by the purchase of two new Heidelberg XL 105s,” explains Winship. Last year, the company formed a direct mail division, Kirkwood Direct, which has been very successful and allows the printer to offer clients end-to-end direct marketing services.
Freeport Press, Freeport, OH
Most Recent Fiscal Year Sales: $25 million
Previous Fiscal Year Sales: $18 million
Change: 39 percent
“Nine years ago, Freeport Press was in jeopardy of not surviving the 127-year history we now proudly boast,” admits Deborah Luyster, production manager. “Dave Pilcher Sr. turned this company around and introduced new concepts that we old-timers had never heard of—nor wanted any part of, to be perfectly honest. But change is now our middle name.”
Pilcher learned of the company in 1998, when he was brokering printing firms. “Freeport Press wasn’t financially strong enough to put on the market, so I put together a deal to purchase it myself,” he explains. Pilcher re-established credit with the bank and relationships with vendors, negotiated new and extended terms, began upgrading equipment, and worked to rebuild the image and direction of the company, using both strong financial and legal counsel.