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Printers Reach Beyond Paper, Ink for Revenue Gains

The largest commercial printers based in Orange County combined for $585 million in revenue last year, a 7.5% increase from their total in 2013.

This week’s Business Journal list highlights the 30 largest printers and ranks them based on revenue attributable to business in Orange County.

The companies on the list combined for 2,434 jobs overall, up 4.7% from a year ago. The total includes 180 sales staffers, four more than in 2013. The printers run 169 printing presses in OC, part of the 1,693 presses they operate companywide.

Eight companies on the list reported increases in revenue, and nine had revenue decreases. Two held their revenues flat year-over-year, and 11 are Business Journal estimates.

Providing add-on services—such as digital marketing, data collection and analysis—helped several of the entries remain in the black last year.

“The growth in our industry is occurring, but it’s not in our traditional ink-and-paper business,” said Bruce Carson, owner of The Dot Corp. in Irvine, which closed the year with $25.3 million in revenue. “Most of our growth has come from building solutions or (fulfillment) applications for our clients that tend to make it easier for them do business with us on a 24/7 basis.”

A new lineup of ad products also is helping the top line.

“There is no surface that you cannot transfer a graphic on,” Carson said, citing cup holders at sports stadiums and grocery store floors as examples of the trend.

“All those new kinds of products we’ve been able to offer to our clients are areas (where) we are seeing growth, but it’s not the traditional brochure or catalog,” Carson said. “And even the companies that are still doing catalogs have a much better database to work from so they are more targeted in their message. They don’t have to produce 50,000 catalogs to reach 10,000 customers—they probably have to produce 20,000 … because they know more about their customers, what are they interested in, who to send it to, and they are not sending it to a lot of people who never had the intent of buying from them.”

The Dot, which placed No. 4 on the list, has 185 employees and 17 salespersons.

Other highlights from the list include:

• Trend Offset Printing Services Inc. reported $310 million in companywide revenue, of which an estimated $186 million came from its OC operations, keeping the Los Alamitos-based firm at No. 1. Trend Offset employs more than 600 workers locally and operates 15 printing presses. Its Dallas and Jacksonville, Fla., facilities offer “identical” printing and distribution services, each operating five printing presses.

• Primary Color Systems in Costa Mesa reported $62 million in revenue, up 11% from 2013.

“This was our best year to date, and we’ve been in business for 30 years now,” said Jeff Peterson, director of marketing. Primary Color, which debuted this year at No. 2, increased its employee count by 10% to 203, while retaining its sales force at 13.

Westamerica

• Westamerica Communications in Lake Forest rose three spots to No. 3. It reported a 40% increase in revenue to $28.6 million and a 5% growth in its employee total to 105. The company is the byproduct of a merger between PSB Integrated Marketing and Westamerica Graphics that was announced in February 2014. The integration process was “successful beyond our expectations,” said President Doug Grant, adding that the two companies’ cultures aligned well, along with their client rosters, with “hardly any overlaps.”

Mark DeBellis, Westamerica’s vice president of marketing and development, said the company offers an array of ancillary services to its clients, some of which were not available prior to the integration.

“We are trying to become a single source (of marketing services) for the client,” he said.

• Anaheim-based Apollo Printing & Graphics made the list at No. 19, with a 30% increase in revenue to $7.4 million. The company merged with another printing business, according to President Dann Ratanjee. It also added about 25 new accounts and salespeople, for a total of 30 employees.

• K&D Graphics in Orange reported 21% increase in revenue to $11 million, good for the No. 17 spot. The company retained the same number of employees, 47; two are dedicated to sales.

• Sir Speedy Printing and Marketing Services, a franchise headquartered in Mission Viejo, had $4.9 million, attributable to its OC operations, which landed the company on No. 23.

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