Trend Offset Expands into Florida
JACKSONVILLE, FL—Jeff Sweetman fully understands if you think heatset and coldset web offset printing have no business being under the same roof. The CEO of Los Alamitos, CA-based Trend Offset Printing won't argue with anyone who feels that way.
Yes, it is true that the privately held company crossed into the Top 50 of printers nationwide as ranked by Printing Impressions in terms of revenues with a lusty $150-plus million in sales.
It's also true that Trend Offset expanded into a Dallas suburb fairly recently and, yes, it's expanding again with a new facility in Jacksonville, FL. Sure, Trend Offset was able to prebook $14 million in work before production began at the 160,000-square-foot Florida facility. And Governor Jeb Bush was so thrilled to have the new company, he phoned Trend Offset Chairman Anthony Lienau and thanked him for expanding into his state.
But Sweetman doesn't want his industry colleagues to draw the conclusion that offering both heatset and coldset printing can be profitable for anyone. It is, however, an extremely worthwhile combination of cultures for Trend Offset Printing and its clients.
Worthwhile is putting it mildly. The company is projecting sales of $200 million in the not-too-distant future.
"We've combined the culture of coldset and heatset into the same plants, which is not the area into which most printers want to go," notes Sweetman. "It's not as sexy to sell newsprint as it is to sell enamel printing. The client base is somewhat unique."
Sweetman had a visiting competitor try to convince him that heatset and coldset do not fit under the same roof. Sweetman kindly explained to the printer that not only has it worked at the Los Alamitos facility, it has been replicated and perfected at its Carrollton, TX, plant and now at the Jacksonville, FL, facility.
Trend Offset was slated to begin production at the Florida facility—in an existing building the company leased—in late February or early March. There is 216,000 square feet available, and Sweetman anticipates Trend will eventually expand to full capacity.
Trend Offset/Jacksonville is slated to manufacture free and paid rack publications; and television, satellite and cable television programming listings (TV Guide is one of its larger customers). The company also produces direct mail catalog work for postal distribution, government printing (several million dollars per year), high-end retail jobs, along with coupon books.
Jacksonville won out over several other locales based upon its regional appeal—the ability to tap into Miami and Dade County, plus reach north toward Georgia and the Carolinas. "Our clients provided us tremendous guidance in selecting Jacksonville," Sweetman notes. "We wanted this facility to benefit them from distribution and postal standpoints."
Trend Offset tapped CreoScitex, Heidelberg and Muller Martini for equipment, investing $18 million in the new facility. Among the new hardware:
- A CreoScitex 3244 platesetter heads the CTP charge, augmented by data communications between plants.
- An eight-unit M-600 double-web press with auto plate changers and closed-loop color control.
- A 12-unit V30 coldset web with two folders. Capable of running at 45,000 iph, the press has much of the same technology of a heatset press.
- A 24-pocket Muller Martini Star perfect binding line.
- A 10-pocket Muller Martini Prima-SB saddle stitcher for selective binding and a five pocket Muller Martini 335 saddle stitcher.
Sweetman notes that Trend Offset's greatest assets are its loyal client base and deep pool of talented personnel. Tied in with the company's division presidents—Todd Nelson (Los Alamitos), Paul Finie (Carrollton)—is John De Fusco, general manager of the Jacksonville plant, and John Grandage, vice president of national sales. Their efforts are enabling national print buyers of heatset, coldset and combination products the ability to manufacture coast-to-coast.
The success in Los Alamitos and Carrollton has Trend Offset thinking beyond the Jacksonville expansion. Both the Northwest and Northeast are being viewed as possible areas of further expansion.
"The opening of Jacksonville is a key moment for us; it marks our entry into the national print manufacturing scene," Sweetman states. "We will take this expansion one step at a time, moving the Jacksonville plant into profitability and then begin consideration of a fourth facility. We're building our Trend house one brick at a time."