When you’re in the retail signage and point-of-sale promotion business, size, consistency, quality, and localized message matter. No matter where you live, whether you’re walking down the main boulevard in Miami or visiting a mall in any city, retailers demand eye-catching graphics to lure business into their stores. That’s the task of Classic Graphics, a leading printing, finishing, and fulfillment firm based in North Carolina and part of the Imagine! family of companies.
Classic has been growing its business exponentially over the past decade and gaining a sterling reputation for its innovation and technical astuteness for its customer base of top national and international brands. But this Charlotte-based business is not content with its current status quo. Rather, the firm is increasing its footprint in the region and investing in its first large-format printing press to expand its capabilities and its reach among its customer base. Its Charlotte facility, set in a low-rise building amid an industrial park, will take delivery of a new KBA Rapida 164 64-inch hybrid UV press in December 2017. It will complement their fulfillment and production department which will move this fall to a newly-constructed facility in the Concord Airport Business Park. Classic also operates a second facility in Research Triangle Park (Morrisville, NC). In all, Classic’s business encompasses 385,000 sq ft of space and 350 employees.
“This is a tremendous investment for us,” says David Pitts, president of Classic. “Our new seven-color, 64" KBA Rapida 164 hybrid printing press will support our growing UV business with increased production speeds, fast makereadies, and precise in-line quality control. Not only are we acquiring our first large-format press but our facility expansion includes a full range of large-format finishing and kitting capabilities, enhanced design services, and triples the size of our current fulfillment center, increasing our secure storage options and boosting our digital print-on-demand capabilities.”
The point-of-purchase signage market has continued to dramatically become personalized and localized as well as requiring the highest quality, fastest turnaround, and color fidelity to the product and brand. The KBA Rapida 64-inch press will bring those new enhanced capabilities to Classic’s pressroom. Its inline camera control system, says Pitts, will bring Classic’s operation to a new level, ensuring consistency throughout the run, and evaluating each sheet inline without operator intervention. The maximum production speed of 15,000 sheets per hour on the new KBA Rapida 164 along with its larger size of 64-inches in contrast to the firm’s existing 40-inch presses will expand the amount of work being produced on press.
“Our goal is to continue offering our clients customized, targeted solutions,” says Pitts. “We’ve become more and more granular for our customers printing five different versions of their signage or printing 500 versions. Our customers might have 1,000 stores each with unique signage, different products for their area, and localized pricing. Not only do we print for them but we manage the signage going into these retail stores. Each location has specific signage based on what it sells. Our reputation is based on producing multiple signage versions with fast changeovers and quick makeready. That’s what sets us apart. Our vision is to be the best-in-class consumer outcomes company.”
After all of these enhancements have been completed this fall, Classic will be offering a complete in-market solution, production, and distribution footprint for its customer base. These investments will heighten Classic’s awareness within its current customer base that reside on the East Coast and mainly in the Southeast and will help to expand Imagine!’s reach into this part of the country. Full operation of these expanded services is targeted for the first quarter of 2018.
Classic chose the new KBA Rapida 164 due to the deep relationship and long partnership that its parent company, Imagine!, has with the Dallas-based press manufacturer. “We’re highly anticipating our new KBA press and the capabilities that it will bring to our business,” says Pitts. “KBA has delivered ten presses to Imagine’s facilities over the years and brings its own highly-regarded reputation and experience with UV.”
Steve Korn, KBA’s Director of National and Key Accounts, adds, “This new KBA Rapida 164 press purchase made by Classic Graphics, an Imagine! company, signals once again that the largest independent printing company in North America continues to invest in new technology for its clients to drive further improvement in the production of branded materials and retail offerings across the country. Classic Graphics can also look forward to the Service Select team at KBA. Offering the best service coverage in the industry, KBA offers technical expertise and performance services to ensure our customers are operating at peak productivity 24/7/365. We applaud the entire Classic Graphics team on what they’ve accomplished, its extraordinary growth both in sales and physical facilities, but most importantly its relentless customer-focused solutions approach. We are confident that this new KBA large format press will provide increased capacity, fuel future growth, and continue Classic Graphics flawless execution of high quality printing and on-time service with its existing and future clients for many years to come.”
Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, Classic is a nationally recognized, award-winning, privately held, full-service graphic communications company. Founded in 1983 by David Pitts and Bill Gardner, it offers an ever-expanding portfolio of services, serving top corporations in the nation and their agencies of record.
In December 2013, Classic Graphics became part of the Imagine! family of companies. Together with sister companies Imagine! Express and Midnight Oil Agency, the combined capabilities of the most respected names in the visual communications industry offers clients an optimal service and distribution model while leveraging creative capabilities and manufacturing technology for the most sophisticated visual solutions.
John Hans, CEO of Imagine!, added, "Imagine! is excited to increase our presence in the Southeast marketplace and further our comprehensive suite of services. This expansion will allow us to continue offering our clients customized, targeted solutions, and will aid in our future vision of being a best-in-class consumer outcomes company."