2009 Top 100 High Rollers Go All In

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Click Here for the 2009 Top 100 High Rollers Go All In Downloadable PDF.
Click Here for the 2009 Top 100High Rollers Go All In Honorable Mention Downloadable PDF.

Making it into Quick Printing’s Top 100 list is an honor any time, but maybe even more so in years such as this one. During a strong economy, the high rollers of the industry play to win, but in the current conditions, most players are just trying to break even. Their smart business strategies have dealt these printers a pretty fair hand at a tough table.

The Top 100 reported 2008 sales of $606,892,677, down 6.37% from last year’s group. A large chunk of that loss can be attributed to four large companies that were removed from the group for failing to report updated figures. Last year’s #3 Vision Integrated Graphics Group, #4 Copy Craft Printers, #10 LAZERQUICK, and #35 Minuteman Press Naperville represented a loss to the list of $88.59 million. Nonetheless, when compared against its own figures for the year, this group’s sales increased by 1.87% on the year.

There are six companies in this year’s list with estimated numbers. ColorNet/Rockville Printing & Graphics, Brandon’s Communications Group (formerly Brandon’s Printing), and MarketPlace Direct were estimated for the first time. Ginny’s Printing, Trukmann’s Reprographics, and Professional Duplicating were each estimated for the second time and will be removed from the list if they do not report updated numbers next year. The combined sales of the latter three amount to $32.91 million.

There are 13 new companies in this year’s list. The highest debut was posted by #18 MailMax Direct, which reported sales of $7,543,913.

Top 10 Players

The Top 10, rocked by the loss of three members, has seen a huge shake up this year, including a new name in the top slot for the first time in almost a decade. Balmar, which has been #1 since 2000, slid to the #2 position, ceding the #1 spot to CCI/Coakley Tech. Both are large commercial printers which break out the sales for their quick printing divisions for this study. Ginny’s Printing moved up to the #3 slot, ColorNet/Rockville Printing & Graphics is now #4, Direct Connect Solutions jumped to #5, Econoprint (Madison) slid up to #6, and Craig Fairbanks’ Copy Central took over the #7 slot. The three new entries to the Top 10 are Western Graphics at #8, Chuck Stempler’s AlphaGraphics at #9, and AccuCopy in the #10 position.

In 2008, the Top 10 companies posted sales totaling $178,994,901. They operate 52 locations, ranging from Copy Central’s 19 stores to Ginny’s Printing and Western Graphics, which are both single shop operations. Their average sales per shop (SPS) is $3.44 million. The top echelon provides work for 2,524.5 employees, more than half of all employees in the entire Top 100. Average sales per employee (SPE) for this segment is $70,903.

On a Roll

Even in a down year, there were companies that experience significant levels of growth. Coakley Tech, which merged with its sister company CCI to become CCI/Coakley Tech, grew by 43.07%. RESCO, debuting at #35, grew by 36.45%. This was also due in part to the merging of three companies. However, the figures it reported did not include sales related to the food services business that was part of that merger—another indication of the diversity and ingenuity of the entrepreneurs who make up our industry.

Leaders in sales growth were:

  • CCI/Coakley Tech 43.07%
  • RESCO 36.45%
  • Frank Gumpert Printing of Annapolis 35.29%
  • Miller’s Minuteman Press 33.33%
  • Allegra Print & Imaging 23%

(The Printing Network)

Twenty-one companies experienced double digit sales growth, 25 posted single digit growth, four reported growth of less than 1%. The six companies that failed to report updated numbers were entered with no growth, and four others reported flat sales. In the negative column, two firms had losses of less than 1%, 22 were down by single digit figures, and the remaining 16 posted double digit drops.

Open Doors

The companies in this year’s list operate a total of 190 locations, down by 6.86% from the 204 reported last year. Several companies reported closing or consolidating locations in 2008. Eight companies say they plan to open a total of 11 new locations in 2009.

As previously noted, Copy Central (Fairbanks Enterprises) has the most locations, with 19. CCI/Coakley Tech operates eight facilities, and Econoprint (Madison) has six. There are three companies with five shops, four with four shops, 13 with three, and 12 with two shops. The remaining 65 are single location operations.
Average sales per shop was $3,194,172. The highest SPS was $20,750,000 from #3 Ginny’s Printing. That was, of course, based on estimated sales figures. The lowest SPS was posted by Copy Central (Fairbanks Enterprises) with $670,376.

Of companies that reported sales (no estimates), the highest SPS figures came from:

  • Western Graphics $11,720,000
  • Landmark Print $10,200,000
  • Frank Gumpert Printing of Annapolis $9,200,000
  • Balmar $8,766,667
  • Direct Connect Solutions $7,799,562

At the Tables

There are 4,147 people employed by the companies in QP’s Top 100 list. That is down by 11.1% from the 4,665 employees reported last year, continuing the trend toward leaner production practices. Only five companies employ more than 100 people, including the top three firms in the list which each report staff of at least 200. Twenty companies have more than 50 employees, 10 have at least 40 on their payrolls, 16 employ at least 30 people, and 36 have a staff of at least 20. The remaining 13 printers have fewer than 20 employees. Custom Printing Co., with a crew of 13, has the smallest roster in the study.

Average sales per employee was up 5.32% on the year to $146,345. For the second consecutive year, the highest SPE was reported by Direct Connect Solutions, which is owned by Ann Mitchell who was NAQP’s 2008 Printer of the Year. There were 15 companies that reported SPE in excess of $200,000, 29 posted SPE of more than $150,000, and 52 had SPE of more than $100,000. Only four reported SPEof less than $100,000.

Top SPE numbers were reported by:

  • Direct Connect Solutions $239,987
  • Braintree Printing $235,924
  • American Graphics Printing Co. $231,897
  • Apollo Printing & Graphics $230,435
  • Print Tech $224,871

Shuffle Up and Deal

The types of work produced by quick and small commercial printers has changed very gradually over the years. There is seldom more than a 1% change in any of the categories we measure for this study. This year, there were a couple of noticeable changes, both involving digital output. Monochrome digital output dropped by 2.71% and color digital output increased by 2.09%. All three offset categories experienced slight dips, as did finishing, although finishing was only down by 0.02%. Areas that saw slight increases were prepress, wide-format, mailing services, and brokered/other. (See chart on page 30.)

Percent of Sales by Job Type

Category % of Sales Dollar Value
1C Offset
Multi-color Offset
4C Offset
B/W Digital
Color Digital
Mailing Services

Calculating the Odds

The first part of 2008 was fairly strong for most people. It was only in the latter half of the year, particularly the fourth quarter, when printing sales began to experience the first precipitous slips. This was, of course, in response to the conditions of the overall economy.

As the country struggles to recover in 2009, the printing industry is doing the same. However, at the On Demand Expo held in Philadelphia in March, there were printers actively buying equipment and looking for ways to capitalize on the changing business landscape. Those who operated their companies using solid, sensible business practices before the downturn are in the best position to not only survive but thrive in the current conditions. You’ll find many of those firms right here, in Quick Printing’s Top 100 list. And you can expect to see them back again next year.

Click Here for the 2009 Top 100 High Rollers Go All In Downloadable PDF.


These companies also had total 2008 sales of at least $1 million, but did not make the main Top 100 list. They are all deserving of recognition for their achievements.

Click Here for the 2009 Top 100High Rollers Go All In Honorable Mention Downloadable PDF.