Print pros discuss moving operations to bigger and better facilities, and the challenges associated with relocating.
We asked 10 of Big Picture's Editorial Advisory Board members to address the current state of the wide-format industry and reveal what we should expect in 2019.
Did you move or expand your shop in 2018? Why? How did it go?
Nicole Piach, co-owner/VP, Digital Print Specialties: In September 2017, we acquired a facility in Detroit’s Milwaukee Junction and moved our operations in March 2018. Our move was threefold: 1. To be closer to the Canadian border, where my husband/business partner and I live. 2. Ninety percent of my existing client base is in Detroit. 3. Detroit’s revival. There is a huge sense of community here; it’s exciting and artsy. To be a part of the renaissance as a corporation and a contributor is rewarding. As for the restoration, we’re still in the construction process. Our first phase was immediate. Within two months, from January to March, we took a derelict 1930s brick building and restored it to house our office and ultimately our printing equipment because we couldn’t heat our new production facility. The building was a box: no water, no heating or cooling, broken windows, cracked floors, and leaky roofs. Looking back at it, I’m not sure what we were thinking or how we did it. I’m just very grateful to a handful of very skilled workers that got us in without skipping a beat. I think we were officially only closed for two business days. It would have been a perfect episode for “Are you crazy, you did what?” [Laughs.]
Ryan Clark, president, Direct Edge Media: Yes, we started out the year moving our shop from about 35,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet. This also involved buying a ton of new equipment to keep the shop running on both sides during the move. We thought that we could fit everything in the new shop, but we did not make it, so we are now back to hunting for more space and renting offsite. It’s a great problem to have, but a very expensive one in Southern California. We also acquired a local offset printing shop recently, so we have another 10,000 square feet a few miles away.
Brian Adam, president/owner, Olympus Group: This past September we opened OCG Denver, a joint venture in Denver with Color Gamut Digital Imaging, focused on local tradeshows and events. We saw some local market conditions and the ability to better service our existing customers by opening a production facility. To meet our customers’ expectations, we felt we needed to a have a local facility that can handle same-day turns. How’s it going? We’re optimistic and excited, but it’s early (presses are being installed now). Ask us in six months.
Scott Crosby, VP sales and marketing, Holland & Crosby: Holland & Crosby Limited purchased the Canadian division of Miller Zell in March of 2018. With that purchase, we acquired an 80,000-square-foot distribution facility in Woodstock, Ontario, as well as an office suite in Mississauga, Ontario. The purchase gave us access to their largest customer along with an experienced staff in sales, service, and installation departments. Finding new business is always a challenge, but you have a higher rate of success when you buy the company that’s currently managing the account. The early months are always challenging as you peel back the layers to discover the inner workings, but once you get that figured out, the benefits of the additional sales volume is good for business.
Chris Laniak, VP of sales, Excelsus Solutions: We moved our entire company earlier in 2018. We were in a 22,000-square-foot building since the beginning. Every year, we invested in new technology to further our capabilities and capacity. Every year, when we purchased something new, we did not have the space to add it so we had to replace an older piece of equipment. With the growing demand for higher volume work and holding more raw and finished inventory, we needed more space. In the layout of the 22,000-square-foot building, we had about 60 percent office space and only 40 percent production space split between two floors. We found the perfect location to allow a better workflow from material in to jobs out. We moved to a 40,000-square-foot building that has a ratio close to 75 percent production space and 25 percent office space on one floor. Since we moved, we’ve added three new pieces of equipment without the need to replace. When we took on the move, it took about four months of planning. We executed the move to be in the new location and at 100-percent capacity in seven days! We couldn’t have asked for a smoother move.
Stan Lucas, business development manager, wide format, DCG One: We’re currently in the process of expanding our wide-format department. We outgrew our original space and are moving into a 25,000-square-foot facility right across the street from our primary facility of 150,000 square feet and 300 or so employees. Our goal is to become a force in the Northwest and the West Coast with penetration inland to the midmountain states.
Elaine Scrima, VP of operations, GSP Companies: We expanded by moving our customer-owned inventory to a separate 20,000-square-foot facility. We were busting at the seams at our Florida plant and it was better than trying to move the entire operation. It was brutal. We house close to two million pieces of customer-owned inventory (just in Florida) and trying to fulfill orders while moving clients one at a time was a challenge, but we did it with relatively few hiccups.