SPECIALTY PRINTING — SECOND TIME’S THE CHARM
Paul LeFebvre is nothing if not brutally honest. He made some fatal business mistakes in the past and paid the ultimate price, suffering through the bankruptcy of his Des Plaines, IL-based company, LeFebvre Intergraphics.
Closing down the shop in 1996 was a bitter pill to swallow for the past inductee into the PRINTING IMPRESSIONS/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame. The company was growing out of control. He had purchased large quantities of paper and kept stocking up on it, but the value soon plummeted from $7 million to $4 million as prices fell. People in strategic positions at the company weren’t making the best decisions. LeFebvre himself was making ill-advised choices.
Perhaps success had come too easily for LeFebvre, who had taken the company over from his father at the age of 19 and built it into a $66 million empire.
“At one point, everyone thought I walked on water and I was beginning to think that way, too,” he says. “I took my eye off the ball in a lot of ways. I got to the point where I was complacent and thinking everyone around me was doing the right thing. It was my own fault. But, in some ways, it may have been the best thing that ever happened to me.”
LeFebvre clearly has benefitted from past lessons. One day after closing LeFebvre Intergraphics, the printing veteran unveiled Specialty Printing. Located a few miles from his fallen company, LeFebvre slowly rebuilt an empire with sheetfed offset printing initially, then web and, now, digital printing. The first two years saw sales totals of $600,000 and $1.2 million, respectively, but recent growth has exploded into the $43 million range for the fiscal year ending June of 2005. In a highly competitive industry, the company enjoyed an astounding 59 percent growth rate from FY 2004 to FY 2005.