Milestones Along The Way
As the owner I’ve seen a lot of changes in our industry in the past 25 plus years. When I started at 16 years old we offered about 10 fonts of cut lettering and we specialized in striping and lettering, especially for dealerships and body shops. But times were changing!
– In 1994 I remember us purchasing our first PC! It confused and scared us, but suddenly we were no longer restricted in the size of our graphic files. It allowed us to design complicated, intricate designs and logos for our clients. It also made available to us hundreds of fonts which allowed our clients to express their personal style even further.
– In 1996 we purchased our first large format printer! It was a Roland 54″ HIFI PRO FJ-500 and this opened up a completely new side to the business. By combining an image, even though small by today’s standards, we were able to attract even more attention to the client’s business.
– In 1997 I purchased my first new vehicle, it was a 1998 Ford F-150 SXT and to make it stand out from everyone in the area I decided to wrap the front end a different color from the back. At the time this was unheard of! In fact the impact was so significant I was stopped many times on the highway by people who wanted to take a photo and could not believe it was vinyl. Even employees from the Ford Oakville plant would stop and ask if I ordered it that way from factory!
– In 1998 though we owned a printer at the time we decided it was time to upgrade as technology in the print industry had made some huge leaps. So early in the year we picked up a new Roland. This printer used new more durable inks and was able to print on new uncoated vinyl products which opened up the opportunity to print on superior materials. The cost per square foot had also dropped significantly allowing us to install even larger printed graphics on our client’s signs and vehicles for a reasonable cost.
– In 1999 I went through training with Fairmont and Webasto sunroofs and started installing for both the retail client and for many dealerships in Hamilton and the surrounding areas.
– In 2004 I went out and purchased three new pieces of machinery. A new 54” Roland printer with better printing quality, a new 64” Graphtec cutter (the elite in cutters) which is still running perfectly today and our very first laminator! Yes up to this point laminating required a huge 30’ long by 8’ high angled table and at least two people with a great deal of patience! Now we were finally able to use a machine to install the clear protective laminate on top of all the graphics we were printing. What a difference!!!!
– In 2005 I opened my own business with a shop on Highway 20 with a small garage. But we quickly out grew this. I also joined a buying cooperative. It was a group of small to mid-sized sign and graphic shops who saw that as a group we would have not just more buying power, but also more influence over our industry here in Canada. Together we have built an extremely strong relationship with 3M Canada after they approached us due to the unity and strength we had displayed over the years. We are also as a group able to assist our larger clients with national campaigns from coast to coast!
– In 2006 we moved into Hamilton’s north end with a shop on Rennie Street. Our new shop had a large office area and a significantly larger garage space. But with the increased work load and much traveling to work at night I started to see a negative effect on my home time with my family, so another move was necessary.
– In April 2009 I moved not just my business but my family as well to 991 Haldibrook Road, Caledonia at the very edge of Hamilton. This gave me a shop closer to home so that we can complete jobs and printing even when late nights are necessary. It also helps reduce our expenses which results in further savings for you, the client.
– In October of 2010 it was time to buy a new printer again! But this time we were looking a bit bigger. We settled on a new 64” Mimaki JV133-160. This printer not only allows us to print on larger media but also opened up the opportunity to become a 3M Select Graphic Provider, a real bonus for our clients.
– June 16 2011 was a huge step forward, achieving 3M Preferred status was a real milestone not just for the company but for myself as an installer. I’ve worked with many great installer but I have also seen a lot of really unqualified installers robbing their clients with bad work. Having a Preferred program here in Canada is a real protection for the businesses who want to invest in vehicle wraps and signage but are unsure as to who they can trust. 3M is protecting their name and their quality but more importantly, their clients, by training installers to do it right!
– In 2014 we achieved our 3M Select Graphic Provider status! We had just purchased a new Seiko ColorPainter W-64s with an Onyx Rip Center! Our new printer continued to keep us on the cutting edge using the latest in high viscosity inks and an ultra modern piezo-inkjet head to deliver outstanding image quality and no color density loss.
Our promise to our clients is that we will continue to improve every year by means of constant training and acquiring the equipment necessary to do the jobs right.
– In 2016 we purchased a new Mimaki CJV150-160 64” printer as well as a brand new 64” Summa D160 cutter ! The right tools for the right jobs, I learned the importance of that a long time ago and have stuck with it ever since.
– July 1st of 2017 we will be getting our new shop ready. Located in the Business Park in Ancaster Ontario it will allow us to continue to grow especially now with my son Cole joining the team and well on his way to become a 3M Preferred Installer!
Our new shop should be fully functional for August 1st, 2017 and will allow us to handle larger vehicles indoors and on-site, we are really excited as this will both speed up the workflow but also give us the space we need so badly.
Thanks so much to all of you, as only by means of our loyal customers who support us have we been able to accomplish these mile marks! Looking forward to updating you with even more as time goes on…