By Jim Newell
From the vibrant banners and posters, to the cool gadgets like lenticular business cards and digital NFC tags that can send a client to a specific website or Facebook page by simply scanning it with their phone, printboys has a plethora of state-of-the-art print options.
For Randy and Pam Palmer, opening printboys was a chance to explore their creative side. Both have backgrounds in art, and Randy in particular enjoys working in the digital world.
This June, printboys will celebrate five years in business, no small feat for a small business startup, weathering first the sluggish economy and then construction on M-24, which the Palmers combated by delivering directly to businesses themselves so their clients would not have to fight the traffic.
Pam isn’t sure about all the anniversary plans yet – which they will celebrate on June 22 – but hopes to have clients, businesses and restaurants from the area attend and showcase their products.
“What I want it to be is a networking event. We’re celebrating, but we also want our clients to make some connections on that day. It’s all about having the businesses succeed,” she said.
As for printboys, the shop is multifaceted, with expertise in traditional and 21st century print work.
“We have a lot of machinery, so most of it is done in-house. The public comes in and they need a lot of different things. We also do a lot of business to business (work),” said Pam, who volunteers with the Clarkston Coalition for Youth and the Clarkston Cultural Arts.
The Palmer’s do a lot of custom printing for charities and nonprofits; restaurant and carry out menus including lamination; trade shows and pamphlets.
They’ve printed Quality Inn’s channel bookmarks, banners for business openings, posters for the Clarkston Cultural Arts, and Valentino’s and Leo’s Coney Island menus in Lake Orion.
printboys has also gone global: “We’re doing a lot of things to optimize our website, and we got calls from Europe,” Pam said. “A lot of people send it in digitally. They don’t need to physically come to the store.”
Their European clientele includes a business owner who wanted marketing material shipped to Italy. “The shipping cost more than the printing, but the client knew that and knew what they wanted,” Randy said.
Sports are another big part of the business: those banners hanging from the rafters at high school sporting events and the Bighead (also known as Fathead) faces of the players that parents and students hold up during games are produced by printboys.
“We do this a lot – posters for basketball and cheerleaders,” Pam said. “Parents are pretty proud of that and the kids get a big kick out of it.”
An increasingly popular item is the lenticular business cards and products: images that appear almost 3D so that when viewed from different angles a new image comes into view.
“One great thing is, if they use us once, that’s nice, but if they use us continuously that’s a compliment to us because then we know we’re doing a good job,” Pam said. “What’s great is now that we have a base we have a little more steady clientele.”
Mesh signs with a company logo so businesses can hang them in the windows to block the sun, aluminum backing for large print jobs or something as small as an aluminum business card (a manufacturing client mounted the aluminum business cards to their products) are just some of the unique items the Palmer’s offer.
Before opening printboys, Randy worked as a graphic artist and art director for different companies, and Pam has a fine arts degree and volunteers with art and community groups.
“I wanted something that I felt I could excel at, and the digital world is something I understood,” Randy said.
The couple also wanted a business they could share with their three children.
“As it turns out, they don’t need us at all,” Pam laughs. “they all have their own unique talents and are quite successful in their careers.”
But growing the business always remains a challenge, especially with the larger corporations which may have in-house printing or contract out to chains.
“In this area, there are a lot of huge companies and it’s hard to get them as a client,” Pam said.
Still, after five years the couple are pleased with how things have worked out.
“Any time you set a goal and accomplish your objective it’s rewarding,” Randy said. “We’re just fortunate enough that we made it five years. We feel very lucky.”
For more information, visit printboys digital printing, 4409 Interpark Drive in Auburn Hills, just south of Culver’s on M-24, call 248-377-3823 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. On the web: printboys.net.
By Jim Newell