By Melinda Tetreault
While buying direct from manufacturers certainly has its perks, distributors are a great resource. They act as a print service provider’s (PSP’s) partner, with the knowledge to direct them towards the best material, printer, or software possible without having brand bias. With this type of relationship, customers and vendors mutually benefit in ways that grow their respective companies and open additional avenues in technological support, monetary growth, and integration of knowledge.
Above: Unique to Global Imaging is its Workflow Studio, which PSPs can visit for hands-on demonstrations.
Overall, distributors are a part of a potentially successful business model. Based on experience, many share the imparting wisdom—shop around.
“If you find the right distributor it can mean the world for you. However, not all distributors are the same. We have a saying in our office—we want to earn your business,” admits Terry Boylan, president, Coast to Coast Printing Supplies LLC.
“A great distributor grows with you, learns what you need, adjusts as they go, and is available to help you through production and service needs as they grow. Working with a great distributor means partnering with someone interested in your company’s success and works with you to achieve more,” adheres Tracey Schaub, sales manager, TyrrellTech, Inc.
David Fisher, CEO, Regional Supply, agrees. “A true distributor employs a knowledgeable sales staff; they personally know you and your business; they offer consultation on products and uses, troubleshooting, technical support, and training; they offer prompt delivery; and have a large inventory and fair prices. If you find a distributor who fits that description, they should be your first choice.”
According to Jason Bartusick, president, Media One USA, the monetary benefits of pairing up with a distributor include not having to manage claims to get credit, faster lead times, and improved cash flow.
“The hidden savings is the time the customer saves not having to talk with several manufacturers and distributors to identify the right equipment, sell their own current equipment, solve technical issues, work with their bank or an outside finance company for funding, and collaborate with yet another company for their ink and media needs,” shares Tara Lamb, president, Global Imaging.
Convenience is also a deciding factor. “Having a local resource for advice and speedy product delivery are two key advantages,” says Pete Ordway, president, Ordway Sign Supply, Inc.
Jim Redmer, director of marketing, Wensco Sign Supply, explains that distributors are often a local resource with personnel that the customer gets to know and can rely on for help with projects. Being local, many distributors offer pickup nearby when a product is needed quickly.
“Partnering with a supplier has many benefits. Sales and technical team members offer an unbiased, honest comparison of equipment and consumables. Our team researches industry trends and stays current in technological advancements to help clients enhance their capabilities when the time is right,” adds Kathy Murtell, marketing manager, The Mosaica Group.
Rick Burdick, VP, corporate sales – print solutions, Veritiv Corporation, also believes distributors provide scale and expertise to PSPs.
“Distributors are set up to handle the true sale, support, service, and day-to-day follow up on the equipment and products of today’s demands,” advises Matt Gusse, VP sales and marketing, Advanced Color Solutions, Inc. (ACS).
They also are in touch with the latest trends. Juan Pablo Sosa, sales director, Cigraph USA Corporation, shares that his company keeps all specialty supplies in stock and is always updated in regards to the newest products and equipment technology.
In it for the Long Run
Distributors have a range of collective experience. Some companies became established as recently as the 2000’s and others celebrate over 80 years in business. It is clear that those invested in distributing products to PSPs are in for the long run. Here we provide information on distributors serving the wide format graphic arts.
ACS was established in 2001. With business reaching the North Americas and some of Central and South America the company is based out of Corona, CA. From its CA location it offers its customers next/same day shipping. With an executive staff holding over 20 years each of experience, it is an excellent resource for dye-sublimation (dye-sub), eco-solvent, and heat transfer embellishment services.
With a start in 2012, Brand Management Group (BMG) is a subsidiary of S-One Holdings Corporation. Its global outreach includes five U.S.-based warehouses and 14 warehouses globally, with main headquarters in Sarasota, FL. The company is the licensee for HP Large-Format Printing Materials and Kodak wide format inkjet media. According to Jeff Leto, leadership, BMG, the company is more than a distributor. “We not only bring products to market, but we work with brands to plan their go-to-market strategy and execution.”
Cigraph USA began in 2000. Today it is a regional wholesaler specializing in large format digital equipment and supplies. It began in Venezuela selling cutting adhesive vinyl but grew by adding leading brands to its portfolio of products ranging from printers, cutters, and trimmers to flexible and rigid materials and ink. The U.S. headquarters is based in Hialeah, FL and focuses mainly on the FL market, offering same-day shipping to its customers.
Conroe, TX-based Coast to Coast currently services all 50 states, with a vision to serve customers worldwide. Within the next six months it plans on opening a second warehouse in CA, and a year after that hopes to open two additional warehouses strategically located across the U.S. to accommodate less than two day shipping requests. The distributor is built to offer more than just a product. “What makes use different is the fact we want to partner with our customers. Your problems are our problems,” shares Boylan.
FELLERS boasts over 70 locations in the U.S., which allows it to send product to most wrap shops in one to two days with standard UPS ground shipping. With its main headquarters in Tulsa, OK, the company’s over 45 service representatives are available 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. CST to answer questions. FELLERS offers a selection of wrap products with multiple brands in most product categories. According to Stacy Clausen, VP of marketing, FELLERS, this allows customers to choose the product that best fits their needs based on performance and price.
Global Imaging was established in 1995. Based out of Louisville, CO it ships from around 50 warehouses worldwide. Out of these, Global Imaging only operates two of its own warehouses. Master distributors in sites throughout the U.S. run the other locations, which allows the company to offer one day ground shipping to 90 percent of the U.S. Unique to the company is its Workflow Studio, which PSPs can visit for hands-on demonstrations of an end-to-end workflow including RIP software, color management, grand format printers, digital flatbed cutters, heat presses, sewing equipment, silicone edge graphic framing systems, and 3D printing.
Grimco, Inc. has over 50 locations throughout Canada and the U.S. In business for over 140 years, the national wholesale sign supply manufacturer and distributor provides traffic signs, blanks, substrates, boards, digital print media, wrap films, sign vinyl, application tape, banner material and supplies, sign frames, banner stands, LEDs and electrical accessories, grand format solvent/UV/latex printers, inks, and software.
LexJet, also a subsidiary of S-One, manages five warehouses across the U.S., with business dealings also in Australia and Canada. In business since 1994, the company offers next/same day shipping of wide format solutions for aqueous, latex, solvent, and dye-sub printing. LexJet-branded products, an OEM portfolio, unlimited technical support, and extensive online educational resources round out its portfolio. “When end users work with LexJet, they not only get the right products for the right jobs, but, because we focus on customer intimacy, they also get a knowledgeable business partner to help them grow their business,” shares Dean Lambert, VP, LexJet.
Media One is based in CA with three total locations servicing clients throughout North America. In business since 2001, it offers next/same day shipping on most orders. Special services or products that help the company standout from the competition include its color profiling techniques and textile finishing products.
Founded in 1974 as La Crosse Litho Supply, Inc., the Mosaica Group became the company it is known as today in 2012. Based out of Sussex, WI, it has an additional warehouse location in Brooklyn Park, MN. Supporting wide format printing as well as other print processes with equipment, consumables, and services like consulting and color management, the company is positioned to address clients’ current and evolving challenges.
National / AZON reaches PSPs in Canadian and U.S. markets. Established in 1985, the company’s main headquarters is based in Troy, MI. It operates five warehouses throughout the U.S. allowing it to offer customers same/next day shipping. To differentiate itself from the competition, the company provides integration services, leasing, creative reseller inventory programs, color department support, front line product support, hardware setup support, and installation reference.
Ordway Sign Supply provides distributing services to the U.S. with a concentration on Southern CA. In business since 1983, the company’s specialty is large format, print and cut, and related supplies. Out of its one location in Van Nuys, CA it offers expert maintenance and repair services and wholesale printing services to the trade.
Paradigm Imaging Group, Inc. celebrates being in business since 1989. Servicing customers in North America, the company’s main headquarters and warehouse is located in Costa Mesa, CA. It is the sole distributor for Colortrac, Graphtec, Kurabo, and Rowe scanners for North America in addition to PIXis eco-solvent and UV printers. Being a distributor allows the company to work more closely with its reseller channel and gain insight into industry equipment and service needs.
Regional Supply is well known for its education and training, as well as its in-house technical support, in-house fabrication, and diverse employee base. Started in 1946, the Salt Lake City, UT-based company has three warehouses located in the U.S.
Richards Distributing Inc., established in 1987, ships to all 50 states via UPS. Its one warehouse location is in St. Joseph, MO. It honors same day shipping if the order is placed before 2:00 p.m. CST. Order quantities are not a concern according to the company, no order is too small.
TyrrellTech is based in Laurel, MD and focuses on much of the eastern coast of the U.S. with additional offices in Orlando and Pompano Beach, FL and Flemington, NJ. It began in 1997 and continues to achieve what Schaub refers to as being “the real deal when it comes to value-added resellers.” The company has four demonstration rooms full of machines to keep current on the latest product introductions and staff well trained. “We believe that the machine sale is the beginning of a long-term relationship in which we work with the customer to teach and train them and to grow their business,” continues Schaub.
Veritiv was formed into the entity it is known as today in 2014 after a merger between Unisource and xpedx. It distributes wide format products throughout Canada and the U.S. with main headquarters located in Sandy Springs, GA. The company has 170 distribution centers across North America. With a longstanding commitment to wide format business needs, according to Burdick, Veritiv provides a variety of flexible and rigid products for wide format PSPs.
Wensco’s main headquarters is located in Grand Rapids, MI. Besides this location, it also has three warehouses in Davenport, IA; Chicago, IL; and Farmington Hills, MI, which allows for shipping to all 50 states via UPS. In business since 1937, Redmer lists some of the services that make it stand out from the competition including substrate cutting, an innovative website, and fully stocked warehouses.
Overall, partnering with a distributor can provide increased monetary influx, local products with fast delivery, and troubleshooting and technology support.
May2018, Digital Output