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Don Burdge on Burdge Cooper Merger

Published on January 17, 2011

Don Burdge President of Burdge Cooper chats with Cary about the decision to partner with Stewart Cooper, branding solutions, and the driving factors for the merger.

Cary Sherburne:  Hi, I'm Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com, and we’re here with Don Burdge who is President of Burdge Cooper, a recent name change.  Not yours, the company’s. 

Don Burdge:  The company name change.  Yes.  Three days ago we announced our new name. 

Cary Sherburne:  Well congratulations. 

Don Burdge:  Thank you, it came after three months ago, we merged with Stewart F. Cooper, and we spent thousands of dollars and hired a very famous branding firm and looked at hundreds of names and came up with our own name as being the best.  After all the URLs that were taken and trying to figure out what we would do.  We didn’t want to lose market share with your existing customers because so –

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah, because you had the branding. 

Don Burdge:  We had names, yeah.  We had the names, so we wanted keep our same name. 

Cary Sherburne:  And so we’ve been talking a little bit earlier with folks about what are the trends in the M&A market, what drove this merger for you guys? 

Don Burdge:  Well, a couple of things.  One, although I am not that old, I was looking for an exit strategy and so here was an exit strategy that I could come up with that I was able to grow my business by merging with someone else who was only six miles away from me and was quite a bit bigger than I was. 


Cary Sherburne:  Okay. 

Don Burdge:  So we became 50/50 partners of another company, I was able to sell my building and get out of that building, that way diversify the building from the business.  And now we are able to take the new business into a market that I think is going to be a high growth market for printing where it going to go in the future. 

Cary Sherburne:  And can you tell us what that is? 

Don Burdge:  Yes.  That’s in, where I believe it is, is it’s in short-run, small format, multiple printing techniques.  So, short-run, of course, and small format meaning under 20 inch, and multiple print techniques, we do engraving, embossing, foil stamping, dye cutting, digital printing, and all of those printing processes where you can actually feel what’s being printed on the paper as opposed to other forms of printing which are, of course, flat. 

Cary Sherburne:  And so what kinds of products then are you producing? 

Don Burdge:  Well, traditionally we’ve always gone in and produced letterheads, envelopes and business cards, those are still the core of our market, although there are fewer letterheads being used these days.  We also do self-published books and a lot of other collateral as well and marketing brochures. 

Cary Sherburne:  And so what kind of equipment are you printing on then? 

Don Burdge:  Well, we’re printing on the Xerox side, we have an IGen and four Docutex and 6060 in Atlanta, we have a plant in Atlanta and one in Los Angeles.  And then we have engraving and dye stamping process and we have Klugees for floral stamping and embossing and Heidelberg’s for letter press and you name it, just a variety of – I think we have 60 different print presses right now.   

Cary Sherburne:  Sixty? 

Don Burdge: Sixty. 

Cary Sherburne:  Wow!  That’s a lot. 

Don Burdge: It’s a lot of moving parts. 

Cary Sherburne:  And have you gotten into the textured clear coat toner stuff? 

Don Burdge:  We’re looking into that right now, that’s one reason I’m here at this show, to look at that. 

Cary Sherburne:  Okay.

Don Burdge:  That technology as well. 

Cary Sherburne:  Okay, great.  And so where do you see this going in the future.  Now, you had equipment apparently in your building, did you move that, sell that –

Don Burdge:  We looked at all the equipment we had at our – available to us and then we moved the best of it to either to our Atlanta or L.A. plant and then we sold off what we didn’t need. 

Cary Sherburne:  Okay.  And then so where do you just kind of see this going, I mean, in the future are you – is this an exit strategy for you in the next three months, or –

Don Burdge:  Unless there’s an offer out there.  No, but at some point in time, we would like to look at an exit strategy.  We’d like to build the business up to be a national small format and short-run printing company that does what we do.  And we think that there’s a great need out there.  There are very large printing companies that do what they do very well, but there’s no one, I don’t think, in that middle niche that’s a national sized company that serves that middle market very well and that larger corporate market in a personal way.  And so we’re looking at perhaps adding partners in different areas of the country, in a limited basis, very selective, but we may look at growing a little bit more and then really becoming profitable with a young management team who knows what they are doing. 

Cary Sherburne:  And then, so when you talk about expanding geographically, you must have a web to print interface. 

Don Burdge:  We do. 

Cary Sherburne:  Do you have a particular packaged one or are you using –

Don Burdge:  We use an ASP model right now that we’ve started about oh, in 1997 in the web to print area and have gone through a few – I made a decision back then not to build my own. 

Cary Sherburne:  That’s a good idea. 

Don Burdge:  And I’m glad I did.  I’ve just used the programmers in the field that are out there that really know what they’re doing.  And we’ve hooked our horse to a few wagons that have fallen over, but we’ve managed to save our customer base and we moved before they actually died.  So and it’s - 

Cary Sherburne:  And who are you using now?  Can you say, or –

Don Burdge:  I’d just as soon not say. 

Cary Sherburne:  Okay. 

Don Burdge:  That’s one of a very – I think a very good one. 

Cary Sherburne:  Well, I hope so. 

Don Burdge:  Yes, they are. 

Cary Sherburne:  Well, that’s great; it sounds like a wonderful success story. 

Don Burdge:  I hope so, but check with me in a few years. 

Cary Sherburne:  I will.  All right, thank you. 

Don Burdge:  Thanks Cary.  Thanks. 

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