Ironside Press — Old-Fashioned Elbow Grease
Forbes graduated from college and carved a career for himself in business development and analysis, eventually landing with Verizon Corporate in Manhattan. When his father passed away in 2002 after a long battle with cancer, Forbes began to consult with his mother, Olske Forbes, about the health and future of the company.
"The shop was struggling to be profitable," he recalls. "At that point, sales were below $225,000 annually. The equipment was old, and the competition was stiff. Over the next several months, my mother sought my advice about the next steps to take with the business. I encouraged her to invest in a four-color press.
Ironside officially became a four-color shop in January 2003. By May, Forbes decided to leave his career in Manhattan and move back to Florida to help with rebuilding the business. Once Forbes took on the life of a full-time printer, he totally immersed himself in the shop's operation and started to expand the business.
No longer a disinterested kid, he fell in love with the craft. "I thought the entire industry was fascinating," he recalls.
However, the following year, Vero Beach was hit by two major hurricanes within three weeks of each other. Fortunately, Ironside Press received minimal damage. "We were lucky enough to be able to continue working, but recovery was slow. Everybody was spending money repairing their businesses; they weren't buying marketing collateral."
In 2006, Forbes and his mother again contemplated the future of their company. They decided to "roll the dice" and invest in a Rampage prepress workflow system and Fuji thermal computer-to-plate capabilities. Almost immediately, business picked up and profitability started to improve. In fact, Forbes says things were finally "going great."
Then, on December 14th, Ironside's production manager had a stroke, which came right on the heals of his pressman suffering a ruptured disc. The company went from a pressroom staff of three to one in 30 days. Forbes and the remaining employees had to quickly learn how to operate the entire shop.