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Broadening Print's Horizons

(December 2008) posted on Mon Dec 08, 2008

Why Sport Graphics never says 'No.'

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By Peggy Middendorf

Every company has its print specialty. All shops have limits. And most businesses are quick to tell customers just which services they can provide-and which they cannot. Sport Graphics in Indianapolis, however, refuses to be straitjacketed by any of these familiar truisms.

In fact, while working with clients such as the Indianapolis Colts, the Indiana Pacers, USA Gymnastics, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and the National Football League (NFL), Sport Graphics has learned the wisdom of never saying "no" to a customer. And it has garnered the company business and customers who understand that no matter what the job, Sport Graphics will get it done.

"We just don’t say no to our customers," says Jim Caudill, vice-president of the signage division at Sport Graphics. "If they have a need, we’ll find a way to fulfill it."

Divide and profit
Mainly working with sports-oriented businesses-including pro and college sports franchises and sporting-goods retailers such as Finish Line-the company has grown since its 1986 beginnings as a commercial printer. Today, under its 125,000-square-foot roof, Sport Graphics ( is diversified into five divisions:

* Printing (commercial printing, stitching, and labeling more than 20 monthly publications);

* Distribution, including warehousing and fulfillment;

* Creative Services (22 full-time graphic designers plus writers and editors);

* Technology (five Web designers plus Web monitoring, and online orders); and

* Signage (wide-format printing, finishing, and installation, including vehicle wraps), begun in 2006, and now officially the fastest growing division of the company. It has grown more than 300 percent in the last 18 months.

But it’s the five divisions working together and that "never say no" attitude that has won the company business, gained customer loyalty, and boosted Sport Graphics’ bottom line, says Caudill. A case in point: The NCAA is one of Sport Graphics’ long-standing clients, and the company has been providing printing, binding, mailing, and fulfillment services, as well as storing inventory for NCAA publications and providing wide-format signage for its events, most notably the Final Four, for a few years. When the NCAA decided to eliminate its in-house editorial and graphic design department, Sport Graphics hired the NCAA’s editors and more than doubled the size of its Creative Services division to meet the NCAA’s needs.