By Lou Dzierzak
“A lot of our customers count on us to come up with the latest inventions and newest applications,” offers Paul Miller, owner of Let’s Get Graphic in Mounds View, Minnesota. The rapidly expanding sign shop specializes in large and grand format projects. Miller explains, “Customers come to us because other people haven’t been able to figure out a problem. By solving those problems it’s created a relationship. They are coming back to us with their bigger ongoing programs.”
The majority of the shop’s business comes from word-of-mouth referrals rather than advertising or cold-calling sales efforts. Art directors and print purchasing managers at Twin Cities advertising agencies and corporate marketing departments often share information about new vendors. Let’s Get Graphic has benefited from the professional networking. “Our greatest asset has been people who change companies and bring our relationship with them,” says Miller.
The local market is booming. The use of printed fabrics in trade shows and retail environments is increasing as marketers become more familiar with the applications. In order to keep pace with demand, Miller recently purchased an additional printer—a Gandi 3150 UV flatbed printer.
Forecasting future sales growth and purchasing new equipment to handle the business is a delicate balance. Miller believes the company manages the risks well. “We have been very successful generating the business prior to purchasing the equipment. All of the equipment we have was driven by sales we already had versus looking at a trend and hoping for the business.”
Adding capacity with new printers demands Miller and his operators keep up with the latest RIP and design software. Finding the right people to operate the equipment can be a larger obstacle.” We’ve been fortunate to hire people with great experience with the machines and the industry. They understand color and the customer’s end use. We don’t have to retrain individuals.”
Miller and his wife Missy purchased Let’s Get Graphic, Inc. seven years ago. Since then the company has grown by at least 30% each year. Managing the growth is Miller’s biggest concern. “Two years ago had an 50% increase; last year 80%. This year we really have to contain that growth before it gets out of control. It’s a good problem to have but we definitely have to keep our hands on it.”