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The Digital Flatbed Market

The Bolder World of Wide Format Graphics

By Gretchen A. Peck

When we called Bob Cahill, owner of Bolder Graphics, to ask him to share the story of his company, he was delighted to take our call. It was no imposition, he told us. "I’m just sitting here watching my printer run," he said. "We like that—to keep them running."

Cahill founded his "print and copy shop," as he affectionately refers to it, in 1977. He expanded on the commercial print model in 1992 with the introduction of vinyl sign manufacturing.

Perfecting the art of vinyl provided Cahill with a solid foundation upon which to lay a new business model—expanding to other forms of wide format print.

He purchased a MacDermid ColorSpan DisplayMaker 72UVR UV-curable inkjet printer a little more than a year ago and immediately put it to use. "In fact, that first job we ran, the guy recently came back for another huge trade show banner," Cahill notes.

Configuration, speed, footprint, and efficiency were all considerations for Cahill as he investigated wide format printer options. But quality was, of course, king. "At 600 dpi, the quality on this printer is just awesome," Cahill explains.

But before he made his final decision, he spoke to ten other print suppliers who were running the machine—to learn not just about the technology, but about the manufacturer behind the machine. "I’ve purchased a great deal of equipment in the past 30 years. I never buy anything until I know the company as well as the product," he adds.

Seeing is Believing
Bob Cahill confesses that he’s not the most experienced or dedicated self-promoter or marketer. He prefers spending his days designing work for his customers or running the equipment. Most of Bolder Graphics’ business is derived from long-time customers in the near vicinity. Word of mouth has done wonders for the print shop’s business.

Now that Cahill has had the opportunity to gain some experience in the large format market, and feels confident in the structure of the equipment, he’d like to pay closer attention to promotion. That’s a sound strategy for a business that’s seeing a modest spike in local competition. "There aren’t a lot of shops doing wide format in this area, but it is getting more popular," he explains.

Once his customers see the digital inkjet output, Cahill says it opens their eyes to new print opportunities they may not have considered before. "We always mention it to our existing customers, and whenever they come in to the shop, I always drag them to the back and show them the machine."

"My goal this year—one of my New Year’s resolutions—is to really promote this printer, because it’s a huge moneymaker for us," Cahill concludes.

When the phone call with Cahill was over, the job he’d been watching print had just finished up. He was then off to complete three more jobs before the day was through.

Jan2006, Digital Output

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