Manhattan Print Firm Stays Ahead of the Curve for Over 125 Years

How does a printer stay valid, and stay in business, during the digital age? Times have changed dramatically since Fitch Group opened for business back in the 1800s. As one of New York’s longest-operating printers – providing printing and binding services for a variety of clients and sectors – Fitch Group has been through the evolution of multiple technologies in the industry. Through it all, Fitch has not only survived, but also thrived through four generations. The firm’s success and longevity can be attributed to a number of factors, not the least of which is its ability to adapt to an ever-changing landscape, according to John Fitch III, President of Fitch Group.

“You hear a lot of talk about ‘early adopters’ in marketing and business these days,” Fitch commented. “It’s that person who uses a new product or technology before it becomes widely known or used. Well, I think that’s a great way to describe our company. Through the years, we have always embraced new technology and stayed ahead of the curve, as long as we knew it would best serve the interests of our loyal clients and best prospects. This has been vital to our survival – especially as digital technology started to come on the scene and old-school typesetters started to go by the wayside.”

Fitch Group began operating in 1886 as the Exchange Printing Company, which specialized in collecting, reporting and publishing stock trade information for the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Back then, founder Francis Emory Fitch and his staff would assemble data at the end of a trading day, stylize and format the copy and then print a report, which was hand-delivered to subscribers before the next day’s opening bell. To this day, Fitch Group continues to maintain and report on daily stock transactions on all U.S. equities listed on the NYSE, as well as AMEX, NASDAQ and regional stock exchanges, with the most comprehensive historical tick-by-tick time and sales database available anywhere. Of course the technology has changed and reports are no longer hand-delivered as they were in the early days, but are provided instead in multiple electronic and digital formats. But in those early days, the firm was quite progressive in the way it gathered and published this important stock information in such quick-turnaround time.

This was just the start of numerous innovations for the company. National Reproductions, Inc., a division of Fitch Group, was one of the first working partners of a company known at the time as Haloid. Haloid was rapidly developing a new technology called “electrophotography” – which later became known as “xerography.” In 1958, the company became Haloid Xerox and later, in 1961, it became simply Xerox Corporation. Fitch Group was an early pioneer with Xerox, having recognized the innovation and future potential of such technology.

Through the years, Fitch evolved in a number of different areas, as the industry was evolving. The arrival of computers and their use in commercial printing revolutionized the industry – and Fitch was among the first to recognize their potential for delivering higher quality and more rapid production.

More recently, Fitch Group was one of the first printers in the New York metropolitan area to utilize the innovative Xerox Color 1000 Press, a breakthrough technology that provides high-definition image quality, blurring the line between digital and offset. The Xerox Color 1000 was introduced by Xerox in 2010 and is still widely considered the finest digital press on the market today. Fitch Group added the XC-1000 to its midtown Manhattan facility in mid-2010 – and it’s quickly become one of the firm’s most widely utilized machines.

John Fitch III explained why he jumped at the opportunity to add the XC-1000 to the firm’s arsenal of technology. “When we were first introduced to the machine and saw what it could produce, we immediately recognized the value this could bring our clients,” Fitch reflected. “It’s been a real game-changer for us. Many in-house departments would prefer to forego the cost of this advanced piece of equipment, but still want to avail themselves of the consistent quality we can offer in our products. That’s why they come to us.”

While staying on top of technological trends and adapting to changes and advances in the industry has been paramount to Fitch Group’s success, Fitch is quick to note that it’s not the only reason for his firm’s longevity. “In addition to embracing new technology, we’ve also made it a priority to stay a boutique firm and keep our focus on a few key niche areas.” While Fitch Group does serve a number of different industries, it has developed particular expertise over the years in financial printing and binding and legal document management.

In the end, though, what Fitch believes is the true component of his company’s formula for success is a commitment to maintaining and nurturing long-term client relationships. “This is a people business,” Fitch said. “And we have always made it our number one priority to find new and better ways to serve our clients. Sometimes that may be by getting the newest piece of equipment, to improve quality and reduce costs. We listen to our clients and we constantly learn from them how we can help to better meet their needs and to help grow their business. Nothing beats that.”

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