Herald Printers in expansion mode

Herald Printers eyes latex, home décor and more in expansion plans

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

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FOUNDED in the days when words could only be printed using a letterpress machine, 97-year-old local print company Herald Printers now has its eyes on the US$664-billion ($90.3-trillion) global home décor industry as it seeks to secure a larger share of the print market.

The operator's ambitious target comes amidst talk that the print industry is in turmoil from threats including the global economic crisis, globalisation, as well as new players entering the industry. Nonetheless, Herald Printers is adamant on flexing their “creative ability” to woo customers and advertisers who have shifted their attention towards the Internet, iPad-like tablets and e-books.

In fact, with assistance from the EXIM Bank, the print company which operates from 43 East Street in downtown Kingston has pumped more than US$1.7 million ($231 million) in the acquisition of new machines to increase market share both locally and internationally.

Herald Printers is also preparing for the expansion of its current space downtown by 7,000 square feet which will include a client experience centre as a sweetener to customers looking to engage the business on its new line of services.

Further, phase two of the expansion will see the company adding 20,000 square feet at an undisclosed location for the finishing of goods and packaging, and in line with the expansion, Herald Printers plans to increase employment numbers north of 100, up from the current 54 full-time staff.

“We took a quick glance at the home décor market and we realised that it is expected to reach US$664 billion by 2020. The registering compound annual growth rate is 4.2 per cent over the period 2015-2020. We think there is a huge opportunity for us to get into this space,” marketing and business development manager of Herald Printers Keena Williams said during a factory tour hosted by the company last Friday.

“We also recognise that there has been significant growth in Airbnbs, so we can print canvas pieces to cater to persons who are coming from, say, Alaska. We can do a wall wrap for the entire space that speaks to them,” Williams continued.

But home décor is not the only area Herald Printers is targeting. The company, which currently provides printing solutions in the form of graphic design, calendars, digital print, magazines and brochures, labels and packaging, has also recognised that it can increase revenue from the provision of wall art services.

“As we get into the latex market, we are excited to see some of the high-rises that are going up across Jamaica. Where there are walls, there's a need to decorate the walls, so through wall art we are happy to bring this technology to Jamaica. Our country, our landscape, is so beautiful, and all of that can be captured and placed on any wall or outdoor space,” Managing Director Rodger Brown told the Business Observer.

Ultimately, Herald Printers wants to quadruple wide format sales over the next three years, while doubling on the sale of digital and offset printing services.

“Those may seem very high but with this is new technology; a lot of the products are new to the market. So we look forward to creating our own market share and at the same time expanding our territory in all three areas,” Brown said.

Overall, Herald Printers hopes to surpass $500 million in revenue over the next five year. Of that, 10 per cent should come from the international market. The company currently gets roughly 7 per cent of its revenue from its business in the United States, Cayman Islands, The Bahamas and St Lucia.

“One of our clients recently opened the largest hotel in Antigua, so we are pretty confident that we will be able to supply the collaterals for that property as we presently supply the collaterals for their five hotels here in Jamaica and also in St Lucia,” the managing director said.

Incorporated in 1922, Herald Printers provided letterpress and publication to local businesses and individuals before expanding into offset printing and later lithographic print services.

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