The Printing Office Changes Its Name To Integraphx
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
CHARLOTTE, N.C.--Sept. 3, 2004-- Even the resident office cats, Tiger and Lilly, must sense the excitement in the air at The Printing Office in Charlotte, as the company officially changes its name to Integraphx and relocates its headquarters. The company has moved from its present 16,500 sq. ft. facility on Clanton Road to a 24,000 sq. ft. building at 656 Michael Wylie Drive in Charlotte. "We have changed our name before and been in several locations--but doing both at the same time is certainly a challenge," said Ed Nowokunski, 67, company founder and self-proclaimed "Chief Sanity Manager." As for Tiger and Lilly--adopted sisters who live full-time at the office--they will enjoy new berths by day in a pre-press area and by night in the customer service lounge. "They're almost like a part of the family now," Nowokunski said. "We take great care of them." Shifts Within Printing Industry Prompt Name Change, Move The new name and location point to continuing success for one of Charlotte's best-known commercial printing companies. Founded in 1979 as the Kopy Korners copy shop, the business grew to eight locations in its first 10 years. By 1994, the company had consolidated into a single, more profitable location and changed its name twice, first to The Printing Office and Kopy Korners and later to simply The Printing Office. "At the time we were growing as Kopy Korners, nobody knew that we also did printing," Ed Nowokunski explained. "With the first series of name changes, people began to recognize our range of services beyond just making photocopies. That name got us a long way, but it also started to inhibit us." Faced with major shifts taking place in the printing industry--particularly since the explosion of email and the Internet--Nowokunski and his management team, including wife Carolyn, 66, (executive vice president); Linda Kirby, 41 (general manager) and sons Keith, 41, (business development director) and Scott, 37 (VP sales and marketing)--began to focus on what they did best. "The thing is, we are not selling only printing per se, but what we call integrated graphics communications," Nowokunski said. Pouring over lists of potential new names, Office Manager Hal Roth suggested Integraphx, a stylized blend of "integrated graphics communications." "We all said, 'Wow, that's it,'" Nowokunski said. "We wanted a name that wouldn't limit us, and Integraphx opens us up to be perceived as doing more than just printing and copying." New Name Points To Industry's Future On the surface, Integraphx resembles many commercial printing facilities. The new facility houses a high-volume copy center, a prepress area, multiple offset presses, a wide format printer, bindery and mailing equipment. But the name change is a deliberate move to address the company's changing philosophy and the direction of the printing industry. "The days of companies printing hundreds of thousands of slick brochures requiring complex setups are rapidly changing to much shorter runs from digital files," Nowokunski said. "Customers are realizing that they are throwing away an average of 40% of what they produce at traditional printers. So now, instead of 'carpet bombing' techniques, marketers are looking for a 'sniper shot' approach. On-demand printing is the key." For example, database technology now means that when someone requests a brochure through the Web or a call center, their information can be sent straight to a digital printer, merged into a "personalized" layout, printed and shipped the same day. Integraphx also streamlines the process of producing marketing literature, business cards, stationery and other materials--all of which can be ordered online. "The fact is, we're not selling just printing anymore," Nowokunski said. "Traditional quick printing is dying and being replaced by digital printing, multimedia outputs, database management, sophisticated mailing and fulfillment, Internet based transactions and other evolving digital technologies. That's where the future lies. Direct mail is still a very effective medium, but is has to be highly personalized and relevant." Integraphx has also discovered other growth opportunities that tie technology and printing together. In addition to their main services, the company developed a Web-based line of personalized photography calendars (www.mymagicmemories.com). The site lets customers choose from a series of calendar templates and upload a picture for each month. Plans call for adding products such as multiple-sized calendars; an "I Did It" book-and-chart combination to capture children's activities such as learning to brush their teeth; personalized games known as "Brainy Books"; personalized placemats; and a line of personalized stationery under the name "Purple Squirrel." A Rich History of Service Founded in 1979, Integraphx generates about $4 million in annual revenue and has 30 full-time and contract employees. Clients include Wachovia, Duke Energy, Okuma Machinery, Charlotte Rescue Mission and United Way. Integraphx Founder Ed Nowokunski flew more than 100 F-105 missions over North Vietnam before earning an MBA and starting a career in sales before getting into the printing business. In February, he was named the 2004 Printer of the Year by PrintImage International, an industry trade group.