Media Is Number One
Florida-Based Sign Shop Spins Off
by Melissa Tetreault
4 of a 4 Part Series
In the past three years, Media 1’s customers’ demands for vehicle wraps skyrocketed. This Orlando, FL-based company specializes in UL fabrication of electric signage, pylons, channel letters, neon & LED for malls, theme parks, airports, and retail stores and still finds the time to wrap at least 50 vehicles a month. About 25 of these wraps are partial, 15 full, and the remaining 10 are vinyl decals.
With rising sales, the owners set out to separate the fabrication company from the Vehicle Ad Wrap division of Media 1, opening an entirely new company called Wrap This, Inc in Melbourne, FL. Wrap This focuses 100 percent on vehicle wraps and fleet graphics.
Dale Salamacha, president, Wrap This, shares that 90 percent of their vehicle graphics involve some form of digital output. Their digital output device of choice is a Mutoh Toucan LT six-color printer. They own five between both their Orlando and Melbourne locations.
All of their inks are supplied by FujiFilm and they exclusively use 3M Graphics Market Center’s 180C vinyl for all of their digital output. "I find it hard to remember exactly how we wrapped vehicles before 3M 180C was invented," shares Salamacha. Its ease of use is one of the reasons Salamacha and the rest of his staff use 3M’s product. He continues, "This vinyl is so incredibly easy to use and so forgiving. With what we use to have to work with, it’s really a major advancement in the application and durability of vehicle wraps."
Back in the Old Days
Not only does Salamacha believe 3M’s 180C is changing how the vehicle wrap business operates, but digital printing’s evolution in general really blows Salamacha away. Back in 1997, when Media 1 wrapped its first vehicle, they used a 24-inch SummaChrome thermal resin transfer printer. Salamacha comments, "While it was a good machine and served its purpose at the time, the quality, speed, and durability of today’s technology is amazing. When I watch these printers run now, it’s just unbelievable what can be accomplished with them."
Pros and Cons
Despite how influential digital printing has been on Media 1’s business, there are still challenges Salamacha continues to experience. One hurdle is the money factor, "Convincing your client that spending 5,000 dollars to wrap their van because it is the absolute best way to advertise their business," explains Salamacha, is definitely difficult. Another is creating a design where the message will come across effectively and compliment the style of the vehicle. Lastly, wrapping properly. If you advertise a durable wrap, you want to provide a durable wrap.
Luckily, the benefits tend to outweigh the challenges when it comes to vehicle wrapping. Salamacha outlines the three basic benefits based on his experiences. "Vehicle wrapping is absolutely the best way to advertise a business. It is not regulated by city/county permits, so you’re free to do whatever you want. It is an amazing stream of revenue once you get the process down to a science, and of all the signs we create, we get the most attention from our wraps. Our clients definitely think they are the coolest thing we do." It is these benefits that spurred Salamacha and his partners to create Wrap This, Inc.
Wrapping Cross Country
Wrap This, Inc received its share of unique projects in the past year. One such was in Minnetoka, MN. A crew of three installers flew from FL to the Rapala Headquarters to wrap a ¾ wrap on a GMC Yukon and a full wrap on a 21-foot ranger bass boat. The catch: they had two and a half days to complete the project.
Rapala, the world’s largest manufacturer of fishing lures, wanted to make both the Yukon and Ranger bass boat resemble oversized lures. Damon Coppola, VP, Media 1 & Wrap This, says that Wrap This designers worked closely with Rapala’s lead designer, Derek Farsund to achieve this look. Ultimately, according to Coppola, the entire team wanted to "display the unique style that Rapala lures portray."
The project designs were created in Adobe Photoshop and printed on two of the company’s Mutoh Toucan LT printers. Both the Yukon and Ranger bass boat were wrapped in 3M’s IJ180C v2 with 8518 High Gloss Lamination. With the speed that only professionals possess, both vehicles were ready for the opening of the fishing tournament season.
No doubt, Salamacha and Coppola knew what they were doing when they created Wrap This, Inc. Their success at luring in customers as far as MN is proof enough.