Our Small Business Portfolio

Our Small Business Portfolio

March 27, 2023 Uncategorized 0

I started my printing career in 1986 as an apprentice lithographer, fancy name for a pressman. My 4-year training consisted of running the following machines:

  • Heidelberg GTO 48 (single color press, with numbering/perforating, single sheet fed)
  • Fuji 65 (single color press, stream fed)
  • KORD (single color press, sheet fed)
  • Heidelberg Windmill (printing, numbering, scoring, creasing, foiling)

As soon as I qualified, I moved to a large packaging and label printer, and operated the following machines:

  • MAN Roland Parva – 1 (single color press, stream fed)
  • MAN Roland Parva – 2 (two color press, stream fed)
  • MAN Roland Parva – 4 (four color press, stream fed)
  • Heidelberg SORMZ (two color press, stream fed)

After garnering experience running these machines, mainly printing wine and liquor labels, and cigarette boxes, cereal boxes, detergent boxes, and soap wrappers for national brands, I moved across the platform, and worked in a calendar and diary production facility, running the following machines:

  • MAN Roland (two color press, stream fed)
  • Heidelberg SORK (two color press, stream fed)
  • MAN Roland GOSS (web press printing directories, reel to sheet)

Another stint at a box file and schoolbook manufacturer allowed me to gain experience in this sector of the printing industry, where I was the first qualified operator in Zimbabwe, to install, train and operate on the first Heidelberg Speedmaster CP-Tronic two color perfector machine in the country.

The next stint in my career was a shift from production into sales, where I was able to transition easily across the divide, and effectively increase revenue, build a book of business and service local and national accounts.

Seeing the potential in the printing industry, my wife and I put all our resources together, and opened our own printshop. Our first press was a Multilith single color press, we used for printing letterheads, business cards and fliers. Soon we added to our production facility with:

  • Multilith A3 (single color press, single sheet fed)
  • Multilith A4 (single color press, single sheet fed)
  • ABDick A4 (single color press, single sheet fed)
  • ABDick A3 (single color press, single sheet fed)
  • Solna 125 (single color press, stream fed)
  • FUJI 65 (single color press, stream fed)
  • Heidelberg Windmill (printing, numbering, scoring, perforating, die-cutting etc.)

In addition to our operations, we also had full graphic design, darkroom, bindery, and print finishing departments employing a staff of 26 team members.

After leaving Zimbabwe, we immigrated to the USA, and started right back at the bottom of the industry, some of the equipment I was tasked with operating, included:

  • Mitsubishi 2F4 (perfector)
  • Heidelberg Speedmaster (six color, in-line UV coating, stream fed)
  • Komori Lithrone G40 (eight color perfector, stream fed)
  • Presstek 75DI (4 color press digital offset)
  • Xerox Versant digital printer
  • Xerox iGen
  • HP Indigo (sheet fed)
  • HP Indigo (roll fed)

And then came along an opportunity to work in the digital arena of the industry producing grand format workflow. Equipment operated in this sector included:

  • EFI Vutek GS3250 UV (roll to roll)
  • Expedio UV (roll to roll)
  • Mutoh Valuejet wide format printers (roll to roll, eco-solvent, rigid and dye sublimation)
  • Epson wide format printers
  • HP wide format printers
  • Canon wide format printers
  • Roland wide format printers

I’ve worked in traditional mainstream printing businesses, and enjoyed a few stints in corporate America in the printing industry, running a division of a Fortune 500 conglomerate and know what it takes to build solid relationships across platforms to get the job done, and today enjoy the best partnership possible, with my wife, Nancy, without the stress of VP’s, COO’s, CEO’s and all the jargon that comes with those roles. Been there, done that, got the t-shirts!

Fast forward to 2018, an opportunity arose with a photolab that became available on the market to purchase. We scraped all our resources together again, and bought the business (APT) out of St. Paul, MN loaded everything into a Penske truck, and drove non-stop into Colorado Springs, CO.

In 2019, we saw another business opportunity and purchased Colorado Business Products out of Montrose, CO., relocating to our facility in Colorado Springs, CO. Then came COVID! Shifting focus, we looked at what we could do to pivot, scale and become self-sufficient. We took the plunge and added equipment, servers, and eCommerce platforms to the mix to enhance sustainability with the changing dynamics of an economy in distress. Today, we have a small team, and operate across a wide range of sectors in the printing industry, visit any of our sites:

  • Automated Photo Technology (perfectly suited for large volume print workflows)
    • Fine Art Photlab serving Photographers, Artists, Illustrators, B2B & B2C and Entrepreneurs selling print on Etsy, Amazon and various eCommerce platforms.
    • Serving local, national and international markets
    • Total of 5 domains to choose from, all housed in one location and platform
  • QuickPrintServe (perfectly suited for lower volume print workflows)
    • Fine Art Photlab serving Photographers, Artists, Illustrators, B2B & B2C and Entrepreneurs selling print on Etsy, Amazon and various eCommerce platforms serving local, national and international markets
    • Excellent local community print partner for quick turn print projects
  • Colorado Business Products
    • Promotional products and commercial print provider
    • Serving local and national businesses, schools, non-profits, B2B & B2C spaces
  • LaserCreatives
    • An eCommerce platform facilitating the production of Laser Engraved products
    • Serving local and national clients

Our equipment portfolio is extensive, where other facilities outsource workflow and production, we maintain a strict level of expectation by having all the equipment necessary to ensure we produce quality prints, merchandise and products that compete with bigger brand name providers.

What’s under the hood:

  • HP Z6 printers (44” wide)
  • HP Z9 printers (44” wide)
  • HP 6100 printers (44” wide)
  • HP Latex 315 printers (44” wide)
  • Plotters – kiss cut etc. (54” wide)
  • Epson DTG (direct to garment for tees, totes etc.)
  • Tajima Embroidery equipment
  • Automark multi-head pad imprinter
  • Roland UV flatbed printer
  • 51”/100W Laser engraving cutter

We also enjoy the security and ease of accessibility to our cyber workflow by housing, maintaining and operating our own servers, locally and nationally, ensuring uptime is at the optimal level ensuring all our clients and users have uninterrupted access to all of our eCommerce brands.

What’s the objective of this information?

Often people get into a business because they believe they can make a good go of it, and that’s awesome, and the hope is that success rewards all the effort! But when you’ve chosen a career and stuck with it from day one, and been able to run successful businesses on two separate continents, there is a level of credibility and trust that comes with operating a small business in the USA. We are unapologetically serious about offering all our clients these components, regardless of spend:

  • Exceptional customer service.
  • Topnotch quality.
  • Affordable pricing.
  • Hands-on project management from start to finish on all workflows and processes.

In summary, we’re passionate about what we do. When you partner with us, every dollar you spend with us to produce your fine art prints, promotional products, laser engraving, Direct to garment apparel, embroidery, and imprinted hardware (bottles, bags, power banks, pens etc.) brochures, catalogs, commercial print projects etc., will be honorably invested to produce nothing less than the best in print!

Our presses are standing by ready to put ink on *it for you!

  • *it, defined:
    • Embroidery (apparel, totes, caps, towels etc.)
    • DTG (t-shirts, bags etc.)
    • UV Print (30”x13”x3” maximum print area & promotional products & cylindrical objects)
    • Pad Imprinting (multi-colored printing on large volume promotional merchandise & swag)
    • Laser Engraving (51” flatbed with pass-through channel for oversized projects)
    • Drinkware, wood, slate, glass, acrylic etc.

We are your true one stop print solutions provider and would be honored to earn your business. If you’re ever in Colorado Springs, come on by for a visit!

We’re only as good as YOUR last print!