Windy City Printing Trio Swept Into Merger, Creating Fuse
BERKELEY, Ill. — Three of the more venerable names in the Chicago area printing and marketing services spaces have joined forces to cross-sell their customers and set the stage for future growth opportunities.
Kelmscott Communications, Aurora, Ill.; Rider Dickerson, Bellwood, Ill.; and The Buhl Press, Berkeley, Ill., wrapped up year-long negotiations with a merger Tuesday, creating Fuse, a $40+ million entity. The combined company will offer printing (including sheetfed, web and digital), creative and marketing services, analytics, mailing and fulfillment, plastics printing, wide-format digital, vehicle wraps and outdoor printing, among other services.
Scott Voris, president of Kelmscott Communications, will also serve as president of the newly-created firm. Charlie Barkley will remain president of Buhl Press, and Bill Barta will continue to head Rider Dickerson, with both men serving on the board of Fuse.
According to Voris, the leadership of the three companies shared a vision of growth for Fuse. "Ultimately, the formation of Fuse created a platform that will be able to grow and attract additional folks to Fuse and, ultimately, offer more services to clients going forward," Voris told Printing Impressions. "We're creating a splash in the market."
The individual companies will retain their current names and identities as divisions of Fuse. Voris said the combined entity will relocate to Buhl Press' Berkeley headquarters in 2017 once the build-out of that facility is complete. That will allow Fuse to reap savings from economies of scale.
The ability to sell across their respective customers bases was one of the biggest keys to the deal. Voris points out that client crossover is less than 1%, which will provide ample opportunities to bring these clients new products and capabilities. Fuse will also seek to add further companies to the fold that can provide new and complementary services.
"The initial attraction is to find companies where our equipment and services will be an attractive fit for their client base, as opposed to expanding into new services. We'll look for areas where we can further our presence and expand our e-solutions capabilities."
The three firms are quite familiar to the Chicago market. Buhl has been in business for more than 50 years, with Kelmscott adding 80 years of experience. Rider Dickerson is the senior citizen of the group, having been founded in 1903.