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Commentary & Analysis

E Pluribus Unum

By Frank J.

By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: December 4, 2006

By Frank J. Romano December 4 , 2006 -- Brown Printing in Jefferson City, Missouri recently purchased the assets of Jeff-City Printing and integrated its operations. Brown was formed in 1984 by E. Ray Brown. Brown Printing and its partner, Modern Litho-Print, will retain Jeff-City Printing's full-time staffers, including current owner Ron Wolken and his sons. Jeff-City Printing has 7 full-time employees; Brown Printing has 23 full-timers; Modern Litho has about 80 full-time employees. Brown Printing, which in 2000 entered into a partnership with Modern Litho-Print, specializes in B2B projects, including four-color process, high-speed digital imaging, and mailing/fulfillment services. From many, one. Rinder Printing owner Tim White sold his Nebraska printing firm to Dutton Lainson Corp., which owns and operates Cornhusker Press in Hastings Nebraska. Rinder Printing has 10 employees and was started by Harry Rinder in 1950. White's parents bought it in 1982. A fire in 2005 destroyed Rinder's building, including a printing press. Rinder Printing then moved downtown, but it had been jobbing out the actual printing of its work. A company doing that print work was Dutton Lainson's Cornhusker Press. Dutton Lainson, founded in 1886, and Cornhusker Press, founded in 1935, are actively involved in the Hastings, Grand Island, and Kearney communities. From many, one. This scenario is being played out every day across North America as smaller printers come together through merger or acquisition to become bigger printers. Three small Massachusetts printing companies combined operations. Pendleton Printers of Gardner acquired Apex Press of Westborough and Reservoir Printing of Marlborough. The combined company, led by Doug Pendleton, is a new entity called Synergy Graphic Solutions that will be based in Marlborough. Pendleton said each of the firms "brings a little something different to the table," noting Pendleton Printers' efficient binding equipment, Reservoir's digital printing, and Apex's graphic designers. Pendleton's business will move to Reservoir Printing's facility. Reservoir was founded in 1987. Apex was owned by Ray and Sheila Gendreau of Hopkinton since 1986, and will operate as a division of Synergy at its space in Westborough and will eventually be merged into the Marlborough site. From many, one. Look at what happened. Multiple small printing companies (all under $10 million) came together to become one medium-sized printing company. The $1 million Jeff-City Printing would have difficulty acquiring a substantial press or high-capacity digital printer. The $3+ million Brown Printing would have been able to acquire more, but perhaps not all the equipment needed to be competitive. And the $9+ million Modern Litho-Print would have been able to acquire a new press or a new digital printer or a new CTP but probably not more than one of them. This scenario is being played out every day across North America as smaller printers come together through merger or acquisition to become bigger printers. This allows them to apply the efficiencies of scale and justify the most capable and productive equipment. But it reduces the overall number of printing companies, which reverberates through the entire industry, affecting suppliers, associations, media, and more. From many, few.



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