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Taking It All In-House

Innovative Myrtle Beach Business Embraces the Versatility of Large Format Printing

By Alexis Golini

Burroughs & Chapin Co., Inc., a successful Myrtle Beach, SC real estate development firm, owns numerous properties in the area. It entered the advertising industry in 2000 in order to accommodate the marketing needs of its shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The company understands the need for increased marketing and point of purchase displays on their properties and therefore created BC Graphic Services, their own in-house print shop.

BC Graphic Services has five areasó design and development, pre-press, digital offset printing, digital wide format, and a fabrication shop. And although it now produces cutting edge signage for the majority of the Myrtle Beach area and more, it began as a very small, inexperienced operation.

According to Jim Bruno, general manager, BC Graphic Services, the need for advertisement signage is what fueled the idea for an internal graphics department to service the properties Burroughs & Chapin Co., Inc. owns.

"I joined the print shop six years ago, and digital printing was very new to us," says Bruno. "We started with basic posters, small indoor signs, and point of sale pieces, mostly used indoors and created on vinyl. At the beginning, all we had was a single vinyl cutter and one Roland Hi-Fi printer."

Six years later, BC Graphic Services still uses a Roland printer for their print jobs. However, "We now use the 54-inch Roland SolJet. That machine is our workhorse. You canít beat the dependability as far as I am concerned," says Bruno. "For media, we mostly use calendared vinyl and MACtac is one of our major suppliers."

"We have become involved in a whole mix of stuff because of all the businesses Burroughs & Chapin Co., Inc. is involved in. For instance, they have a time-share division, and we do a lot of direct-mail pieces and VDP for that. We also produce signage for the NASCAR SpeedParks in NC, TN, MO, and Canada," states Bruno.

In fact, BC Graphic Services produces signage for five NASCAR SpeedParks, two of which are Burroughs & Chapin Co., Inc. properties. The shop is the supplier of decals on every go-kart and show car on location at the parks, in addition to traditional promotional signage. "We do not do wraps on these cars. They are individual decals that we print and cut from vinyl. We also produce all of the graphics for point of sale, cash wraps, banners, and large scale wall graphics in each of these parks," says Bruno.

Most of the signage at the tracks is produced with Avery Graphics vinyl. However, the vehicle decals use 3M ContolTac. "And with all five SpeedParks using a standard sign and decal package, we can produce replacements quickly and efficiently," adds Jim Kluge, print shop supervisor, BC Graphic Services.

The company also produces stadium signage for various minor league baseball teams. According to Bruno, they mostly use adhesive vinyl for these jobs.

Once jobs are designed and printed, BC Graphic Services is faced with installation. "Depending on the job, we either do the installation ourselves or assign it to contract installers," says Bruno. The company has two contract installers who do general sign work and two who perform vehicle wraps. It also has four in-house employees who install.

Ball Park Decor
One of BC Graphic Servicesí most recent jobs involves producing signage for The Ripken Experience, Myrtle Beach project. Bruno explains, "The entertainment division of Burroughs & Chapin Co., Inc. hosted the AAU National Championships, 13 and under, here in Myrtle Beach for the last three years. The Ripkin folks were looking to expand and do another venture." The two companies got together and decided to re-create seven old time ball parks, having BC Graphic Services do all the printing and installing of signage.

The Ripken team was heavily involved in the layout of the complex. However, BC Graphic Servicesí design department developed all the graphics for the signage, in addition to the programís logo with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. "The Ripken folks were very receptive to our designs and approved most of the signage with only minor tweaks," says David Coates, director of creative development, BC Graphic Services.

MACtac sponsored the Ripken project, and donated all the media used for the directional signage at the parks. "BC Graphic Services approached its MACtac sales representative and asked if we would want to partner with them and use MACtacís new bubble-free product," explains Jennifer Payne, product manager, MACtac Graphic Products. The JT5929BFD bubble-free vinyl used in the project is a white gloss 2.7-mil polymeric vinyl with permanent air-egress adhesive technology. The directional signage also had a MACtac LF3650 overlaminate, which is a 2-mil cast laminate with a permanent acrylic adhesive.

"MACtacís willingness to work with us on this project helped develop our relationship. They were a tremendous help," adds Bruno. "The directional pieces will be out in the elements and the durability is key, and we have confidence that MACtacís bubble-free product will hold up just fine."

The largest sign produced with the MACtac product is 6x4 feet. In addition to the directional signage at the parks, there are numerous large format banners hanging on-site. BC Graphic Services used Sonnet Mesh windscreen banner for these. The welcome banner at the entrance was printed on a 13-ounce GMI scrim.

With almost every large format print project, comes its share of challenges. "From the beginning of this project, we had severe weather issues. We had a lot of rain, and with the signage being the finishing touches to the project, we were the very last folks to go in there and we were just pressed for time. The whole project was pressed for time," says Bruno. "Baseball players and their families were actually arriving to the park and we were still putting signage up."

Future plans for The Ripken Experience, Myrtle Beach project include adding housing and dorms on the facilities. Bruno says that any signage for those additions will certainly be done by BC Graphic Services.

Centralizing Success
"BC Graphic Services was created to bring everything in-house for Burroughs & Chapin Co., Inc. and centralize all of our print and graphics operations," says Bruno. "Prior to this, everyone at each individual property was buying and doing their own thing, which meant there was no consistency to anything as far as quality and pricing."

As for the future of the company, any capital project that Burroughs & Chapin Co., Inc. is involved in, BC Graphic Services will provide the print work. Bruno adds that digital printing has had a huge affect on the company.

"A lot of the longer run pieces that we used to do, the runs have gotten shorter and we do that in-house. It seems like large format digital print keeps evolving daily so there will always be something new to do."

Aug2006, Digital Output

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