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P-O-P Star KDM

Cincinnati shop's customers range from food retailing giants to regional and national corporations.

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By Peggy Middendorf

P-O-P and more
Few customers need P-O-P more than grocery stores. In 1970, KDM began working with Cincinnati-based Kroger, which now has 2500 stores across the country; importantly, the chain also has specials that change weekly as well as new inventory and products that are constantly begging to get more attention from shoppers. To accommodate the giant grocer's needs, KDM produces P-O-P banners, end caps, floor and window graphics, shelf graphics, and more.

Work with Kroger was just the beginning of a grocery focus for KDM. In 2000, the shop added a salesperson that's specifically dedicated to the grocery market, and more grocery chains, such as Piggly Wiggly and Dillons, are now using KDM for their graphics needs.

National retail chains also come to KDM for their P-O-P graphics. The company prints and kits print jobs for name-brand chains such as Lowe's, Value City, and Linens 'n Things. KDM also stores extra printed inventory for restocking these stores and for new store openings.

And prototyping has entered into the shop's product mix. For instance, it has used the one-off capability of the flatbed to prototype some standalone displays for Value City, even though these are time consuming and 'there's a lot of problem solving to do with these jobs,' says Kissel.

Another prototyping job, for Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co., involved printing a prototype diaper cover (the final design would be printed by another company). The 0.002-mil polyethylene used for the outside plastic cover of disposable diapers, however, was too thin to run through KDM's Zund printer without melting when the UV-curing lamps hit it. Ever the creative problem solver, the KDM staff mounted the thin plastic to a strip of styrene to print it; the styrene absorbed the lamp's heat and the client got the printed diaper cover samples.

To tie all its work together and track the jobs, KDM has incorporated EFI Logic throughout the building. At present, the EFI workflow is being used in the commercial and screen area, but not yet in the digital shop. The company also is working on customizing the software to better fit its particular business: 'There is lots of information to be input for the work ticket, and currently a limited amount of space to write in job details,' says Kissel. 'We need to rework the program to allow us to enter all details and all parts of the jobs.'

Looking ahead

Just as this issue goes to press, Kissel reports that KDM has purchased an HP Scitex TJ8500, which offers 6-color (CMYKcm) rollfed UV-curable printing. Kissel says that the shop will move its smaller 1- and 4-color banner jobs-250 banners and fewer-from their screen-printing presses to the new TJ8500. 'We view this as a production press, as it prints up to 2000 sq ft/hr in production mode,' he says.

The combination of printing capabilities at KDM-wide-format inkjet, screen printing, and offset-allows it to function much like a family: In a family, everyone has chores, but smart parents quickly learn the strengths of each child and assign jobs based on those strengths. KDM is the smart parent: The company optimizes its capabilities by playing off the strengths of each printing process.