By Susan E. Campbell
Smaller printing companies can stay “in the black” in an uncertain economy by expanding their offerings. A copy shop becomes a full-service printer. An offset printer becomes a mail house for the client materials it produces.
Two such companies that survived the latest recession by diversifying are Print Graphics of Clifton Park and Alexander BlueLine of Ballston Spa.
For Kevin Cronin, owner of Print Graphics, the downturn beginning in 2008 was “like someone had cut the phone line.”
“All of a sudden your services are not needed,” he said. “The state of New York used to do a lot of printing, but not now.”
Paper is in fact “one of the few manufacturers left in the state,” Cronin said. Whereas there were five or six distributors pre-recession, there has been some consolidation and now there are two.
“Over the years, certain print offerings have disappeared because the mills have disappeared,” said Patti Kelsey, president of Alexander BlueLine Inc. When a mill merged or closed, the specific type of paper it produced would be lost.
“Clients like a certain look and feel of a paper,” said Kelsey. “I have to search for their specifications and work locally as much as possible.”
But there are new types of stock, coatings and digital equipment, and commercial printers need to “stay up with trends,” she said.
“Everything has changed, from price to how things are put together,” said Kelsey. “There are products to make paper rip-proof, waterproof, and look three-dimentional,” she said.