Monday, April 20, 2020

45 Years Of Larson

45 Years Of Larson

Yes I have been in business for 45 years and we are not stopping now. Sure I could retire but as my father always said "Don't retire, retread".
I do wonder how I got to where I am now. But then, I don't. I mean I grew up with a printing press in the family basement.  I born to be in printing, advertising, marketing and it's been one hell of a ride.

I tried not to be an ad man. With a Double Major Biology/Philosophy from Northland College you can see I was really educated for going into marketing. My marketing degrees came later From University of Wisconsin Madison, thank you.

From working as a pressman on a 1 Color Solna 125, a 2 color Heidelberg Speedmaster and yes a little gray Multilith 1250 to doing tts coding for a VIP Typesetter. Building one of the largest dry transfer companies in Chicago to buying one of the first 36" wide Lasermaster ink jet printers.

Working on projects with and for companies such as  Leo Burnett & J Walter Thompson, Field Container & FCL Graphics to Binks Mfg & Simmons Beds, Freeman Decorating, Hall Erickson & Brightline, Hollister and Molex. Enesco & Roman, Heidelberg USA & Graphtec Digital Solutions . From 1 man to fortune 500 businesses.
Business To Business Lead Generation Telemarketing Target Marketing
Making Good Companies Great and Great Companies Even Better

435 Bennett Road, Elk Grove Village IL

This was the start 5000 square feet.

My father moved his design company out of the basement and had the front 3500 and I took the back 2500.   
3 printing presses, paper cutter, a Mergenthaler VIP, an  18' Consolidated Camera. 1 shift to 2 shifts. A second VIP and a new Borrowdale process camera. 
Growing by over 25% a year by 1979 we had taken a 250K company to over hitting over a million in sales and it was time to move.

If you have never grown at double digits or hit 1 Million in sales let me tell you its rush. 

175 Gordon Street, Elk Grove Village IL

We bought the 175 Gordon building in 1986 from one of our customers, NCL Graphics which gave us the room we needed to grow and expand. More equipment such as a $600K Berthhold Typesetting System an Linotype 330L. With 46 employees we where on fire.
It was here we created the "Center For Creative Arts". Using the Downtown Chicago model of having independent talent in one location we brought in highly specialized independent talent all to one address. Typesetting, photostats, dry transfers, design, air brushing , illustration, color copies, trade show and pop displays. Bringing together 14 different creatives all under one roof.

1550 Spring Road Oak Brook IL

Thank you Apple. The Mac changed everything. Pricing went down. Quality went down and we got caught flatfooted. Typography basically disappeared from the face to the earth in 3 short hard years. Our 3 largest accounts got bought out and/or moved out of the Chicago area and the United States went into a "little" recession. So I moved to smaller digs.

I will spare you the details but with my father, who was the creative genius, and he really was a genius, retired because of a minor stoke, it was time to regroup and rethink company direction. As this was all happening I got a call from a past salesman who use to work for me. Many of you have heard the story but, Tom was working for a website design company and was maybe one paycheck from getting the rubber key when he called me up and asked if I would make some cold telemarketing calls for him.  Now he was the kind of guy who could sell ice to an Eskimo but he was NOT a cold call guy. So we worked out a deal. I made some calls and I set him up with some appointments. He closed them and... his boss found out, calls me up and said "I want to hire you, you're great." Upon which I said I have a company and I'm not looking for a job. Jim countered, ok I want hire your company. And in 1 week I changed from being what you might call a 2 bit graphic arts company into a telemarketing company.

678 N. Eagle Lane Palatine IL

The move to our present configuration came when gas hit $3.00 a gallon in 2006. I did not need to do a 30 mile round trip drive down to Oak Brook when I could do a 30 foot commute to a spare room in the house.
A step back? Hardly. It has allowed me to attract some of the finest talent in the country. IL, MN, TX, LA, FL, CT, NE, AZ. A new direction a new way of doing business more efficiently. Moving back into full milt-channel marketing we added direct mail and email marketing, content development, blogging and enhanced social media marketing but the thing that makes it all work, the glue to our success is still personalized prospecting by a real live person. No auto dialer. No recorded message. No bull pen. But 1 person handing your account so they get to know you, your company and can represent you.

45 years and still running

So whats next? Growth? Perhaps but seriously, I enjoy being the big fish in a little pond. 
 I keep looking, testing, trying new things. The tools might be different but the rules remain the same. If you know how things work, it works. People buy from people they know and trust.

Additionally I have partnered with Estimator Cloud a complete cloud based estimation system for Print, Sign, Large Format and Display companies. Why? It does what is suppose to do. No BS. It is easy to use. And it has a fast set up in 1 to 2 days. Give me a call and I'll get you a demo, I don't care if you are using a different system. Try it, you will like it.

As for my core company, I'm not looking to be the kind of guy everyone wants to use for their marketing and lead generation. But for the discerning person and company, the one with the hunger and the grit who wants to grow faster at or faster than 4 times the GNP, I'll sit down and have a cup of coffee. Sadly right now a virtual cup of coffee.

If you like my way, the Larson way, let's do some business and make some money.

We Keep Getting Better To

Make Good Business Great
and Great Businesses Even Better!

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