Sensing an opportunity to grab more market share — and to keep up with a big push in demand — a printing company makes a nearly $1 million investment in its future.
It’s pretty uncommon to hear that a printing company — in the digital age — is growing.
Yet, with revenue up 188% increase since 2017 at Palm Printing in Sarasota, the company had no choice but to purchase a second printing press to keep up with business. (Company officials declined to disclose specific revenue figures.)
Palm Printing is full service, professional printing company that offers a range of offset and digital print capabilities. The company's service extend to design, printing and direct mail. It's located within the Lakewood Ranch Corporate Park, in a 20,000 square foot building. The company was originally located at a storefront on Siesta Drive in Sarasota before moving into an industrial warehouse space on Apex Boulevard. The Lakewood Ranch facility was built to the company's specification in 2000.
The genesis of the firm's recent growth surge can be traced back three years.
That's when, in early 2018, the company welcomed partners Renee Phinney and Charles Zweil. At that point, the pair had a combined experience of 37 years in the printing industry — so a lot of their longtime clients followed them for previous companies to Palm Printing. Then, when the printing company experienced revenue growth of 109% that year, President Ryan Hedrick knew operations needed to expand.
“Initially when Renee and Charles came, I immediately thought that we needed to expand,” Hedrick says. “It got to the point where we weren’t keeping up. It just made sense.”
Eventually, the original printing press was running multiple shifts and just couldn’t keep up with demand. Palm Printing offers design and printing services for projects like booklets, business cards, catalogs, corporate stationery, postcards and posters.
The company looked into owning a second printing press when the one wasn't enough. “We didn’t want to just add a second machine,” Hedrick says. “We wanted more capacity and new technology.”
Hung up on two different machines, Hedrick finally decided on a Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 75 press. The new press incorporates UV technology, which increases the variety of materials the company can print. Hedrick says the UV printing option is fairly new for the commercial printing industry, as only a small number of businesses use these types of printers.
The Speedmaster cost the company $870,000, but, overall, Hedrick notes it was worth it. Plus, with the company's 27% growth in revenue in the first six months of 2021 compared to those months in 2020, the purchase was doable.
The biggest change that has come with the new press is how quick products are completed now.
Hedrick says a traditional press can print the final adjustment of the printing surfaces on a press in 25-30 minutes, but the Speedmaster’s gets it done in less than 10 minutes with printing speeds of 15,000 sheets per hour. He also notes that the ink dries much faster.
There’s also less waste with the press, making it more environmentally friendly.
Typically, it takes 400-600 sheets of paper to get the color correct, Hedrick says. But with the inline spectrophotometer to ensure color consistency and print registration throughout the entire job and a five color-coder option, the new press only uses about 50 sheets of paper. “We’re not wasting as much paper,” he concludes.
The Speedmaster is a three-quarter sized machine, which is about the same size as the company’s other press, and features a 23x29 sheet size.
The new press not only has impressive features, but also has allowed the company to expand the printing range of services they offer. “Our clients can come to one company for all of their projects,” Phinney says.
That fact alone has allowed Phinney and Zweil to capitalize with their longtime clients, Hedrick notes. “They’re finally able to make promises and keep those promises,” he says.
The majority of those promises rest on deadlines and quality, which is handled with ease by the new addition. Even though Hedrick knew the expansion was coming, he was still surprised when they purchased the machine. “It came a lot faster than we were expecting,” he says.
Hedrick and Phinney says none of this would have been possible without their customer base and staff.
“We’re so grateful for our community, clients and staff," Hedrick says, noting the key to the company's success is that a lot of the staff has been there for a long time. The staff ranges from 27 years to just over a year. "That really is a big key to our work," he says. "It just adds one more level of consistency."