PrintNation Acquisition Part of the New Pitman Plan to Expand
Press release from the issuing company
5/8/01 (WhatTheyThink.com) In a shocking move, Pitman announced over the weekend that they would purchase PrintNation.com. Pitman will keep the heavily marketed “PrintNation” name and relaunch the site by the end of May.
The troubled online superstore had shut down it’s site in mid-April and worked on deals to secure it’s future. As we originally reported, the company was stable in terms of committed capital with around $10 million in the bank and had reduced it’s burn rate down to about $340,000 a month.
At the time sources said the board had heard presentations from a couple of groups in the final days. Yesterday, Robert Locke, PrintNation’s CEO, told us Pitman was their first choice in terms of seeking a partner. “The company is solid and their name and distribution presence is what an online effort needs. It’s a great alliance for our customers and Pitman.” Joe Demharter, Pitman’s CEO concurred. “PrintNation is a major part of our attempt to expand our reach beyond our physical locations.”
Locke and Demharter both confirmed that the entire deal was put together in about a week with flights and documents moving back and forth at a rapid pace. When asked if the new PrintNation site would be ready by the end of May as stated in yesterday’s release, Demharter chided, “I told our development team that we put the deal together in a week - so they should have the site integrated within 4 weeks.”
Pitman has planned a move in this area for some time. Sources said executives were skeptical of an online effort, but now see it as a key to their success. “It is extremely important for Pitman to expand it’s presence into the market. Opportunities in the SOHO market, ad agencies and corporate America abound. The pre-press area is moving outside the print shop to the desk top and we want to reach those customers too.”
The company purchased AD VANTAGE Computer Systems in February to “provide direct marketing and telesales of electronics and consumables for the printing and publishing industry, as well as telephone technical support services for Pitman customers.”
The Pitman/Advantage also markets their products through direct mail sending out 16 page catalogs every other month to over 65,000 businesses. “We will acquire mailing lists that meet our target audience and easily have this mailing near or over 100,000 pieces soon.”
The PrintNation purchase is key to bringing down the geographical walls according to Demharter. Pitman has used a well known IT firm -NxTrend to build it’s current back end. “We have a solid data collection and workflow ordering package that NxTrend has provided. The software is used in the demanding construction and building market. However, the PrintNation technology will allow us to have a friendlier user interface and their technology will fit perfectly as a front end with what we have already built.”
Demharter said the site will have a community focus that will be expanded in the future. The site will take advantage of the Free CPA feature that Pitman offers now.
Demharter said the hard work of such an effort is over because they have the product line and support of their partners. “We announced the PrintNation purchase at our dealer conference this past weekend. Suppliers are very pleased with our entry. Obviously, they will move more product. It is good for everyone involved.”
We asked Demharter about the territory issues and compensation challenges that occur when selling online. Demharter said, “I have a short answer for you. Clients can order any way they want. We will work out internal details as needed.”
Pitman retained the CTO of PrintNation and they have already started the integration process. Robert Locke’s last day is this Friday. Will he come back to the industry? “I’m not going to answer that question right now. I’ll be playing golf and enjoying life for a while.”
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