After Mark Esbeck retired from his role as CEO of an international corporate finance company in 2012 in his mid-50s, he binged Humphrey Bogart and film noir movies. He also got into better physical shape.
But then he started to get bored — an affliction that impacts many entrepreneurs who get to the top and then lack the next big thing. “I wanted to do something more, because I was too young to just be retired,” he says.
Esbeck, who declined to provide his age today, had enjoyed dipping his toe into things like brand development and marketing in his last role, so he started looking for a business to buy in the Sarasota area where he could flex the creative muscles. Around the same time, Brian Jones was looking to sell Andrick & Associates, the printing and direct mailing business his late stepfather, Jeff Andrick, had started in 1984. Jones wanted someone who would carry on the family’s legacy of innovation and customer service.
Esbeck proved up to that task.
He and his wife, Jane, purchased Andrick & Associates in 2015, bringing son-in-law Matt Bombella, 41, on board later that year as vice president of production. Their daughter, Meredith Bombella, joined the company at the end of 2017 as vice president of client services, and the family has worked to build on the past success of the longtime local business.
Their tenure began by modernizing the company’s management information system and making a multimillion-dollar investment into equipment for variable data printing, a form of digital printing that allows text, graphics and other elements to be changed from one piece to another without slowing down the printing process. “That literally leaped us into the future in printing and mailing,” says Meredith Bombella, 38.
When Esbeck bought Andrick & Associates, it was primarily a bulk mailer that mailed out jobs for other printers with a major focus on doing work for political campaigns. The investments and changes made at the company, which also included hiring a graphic designer, allowed it to expand on its own printing and design services. Meredith Bombella proved skilled at showing current and prospective clients the cost savings and other advantages of combining everything at one location.
“When you’re doing the printing, you can also do the addressing,” says Esbeck. “So you can combine steps and you can save people money. You can make it easier for everybody.”
Andrick & Associates has also grown its printing portfolio and customer base through acquisitions: It bought AM PM Mailing Services in Bradenton in 2021 and West Coast Printing in Venice in 2023. In addition to creating direct mailings and other physical materials, it’s also expanded into the digital marketing space, something it sees as a value add for smaller business clients who have to stretch their marketing dollars across multiple platforms.
Andrick & Associates now works with a lot of local real estate agents, nonprofits, and other businesses and organizations, but it also continues to provide services for political campaigns. It’s starting to gear up for the 2024 cycle and draws on its past experience and expertise to juggle everything during the busy election season. That requires conversations with its other clients about scheduling and timeframes to keep all the company’s customers happy — and orders on track.
“We really communicate,” says Meredith. “Most people are completely fine with it as long as you communicate.”
Esbeck declines to provide annual sales figures, saying only that he’s tripled revenue since purchasing the company, which now has 13 employees. And its reputation in the Sarasota area keeps growing.
“People keep walking in saying, ‘We’ve heard you’re the ones to go to for printing and variable data mailing,’” says Esbeck. “And we say, ‘Thank you very much; how can we help you with your problems?’ We really view ourselves as problem solvers at the end of the day.”
The company recently solved some problems of its own when it moved from the north Sarasota space it had outgrown to a new, larger location off Ashton Road in Sarasota closer to Interstate 75. “We were completely constrained in the other space,” says Esbeck. “It was just too small of a building to accommodate our current operation. And then, of course, we want to continue to grow.”
He's already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve the building and create an efficient, climate-controlled production facility with plenty of room for storage and equipment. “We’ve tried to organize things so we can minimize the steps, because as I tell people, our business is like running 40 to 50 relay races every day,” says Esbeck. “You have to hand the baton from design to pre-press to printing to mailing to inserting, and all those batons can't be dropped.”
That all sets the company up for the kind of measured growth Esbeck hopes to see. “I see the opportunity for us to continue to look at some acquisition opportunities; we’ll continue to be open to those kinds of things,” he says. “We’re going to have growth in the digital area. We want to continue to grow, but we want to be smart about how we do it. And there are some opportunities that are running through my head, but they’re just too early. There are things that are going to happen, maybe in 2024 or by 2025, but I just don’t know right now. We’re still planting seeds.”
Nokomis-based freelance writer Beth Luberecki, a Business Observer contributor, writes about business, travel and lifestyle topics for a variety of Florida and national publications. Her work has appeared in publications and on websites including Washington Post’s Express, USA Today, Florida Trend, FamilyVacationist.com and SmarterTravel.com. Learn more about her at BethLuberecki.com.