AlphaGraphics is a global franchisor with full-service print shops that offer custom printing and marketing services.
Larry Furlong is the owner of the AlphaGraphics franchise on Camelback Road, one of the leading printers in Phoenix, Arizona, United States. We’re pleased to have him as our Featured Printer on CardDsgn and to learn more about the world of printing.
Tell us a bit about the background of your company and how it all started?
Larry Furlong (LF): We are a long-time AlphaGraphics franchise (we opened in 1981!), part of the nationwide AlphaGraphics network of 240 locations in the US.
What makes your company unique or what distinguishes your company from other printing companies?
LF: All printshops say they are unique, and top-notch quality, and best-in-class service, but we really are! 😊 (And turn most orders in 24-48 hours or less!)
We’ve read about your creative ways of hosting networking events (themed open houses) to network with prospects. Recently, how do you stand out from other local businesses in terms of creativity, productivity, or business offers?
LF: We support the local graphic design community by sponsoring annual conferences. We have many reps who work exclusively with small businesses, non-profits.
We also offer dedicated custom web portals (Web-to-print) for our business clients to quickly order customized variable data printed items online like business cards and other branded marketing materials. We call it agOnline.
How has your company’s approach evolved over the last few years?
LF: During the last few years, we have succeeded in keeping product offerings while working all angles of the supply chain struggles (lack of papers and laminates, etc). We now actively promote multi-loft double and triple thick business cards. We also print 100% of our business cards on HP Indigo digital presses. Best in class quality.
What was the last big achievement that was celebrated?
LF: No big achievements, but we have recovered from Covid downturn and are now well above pro Covid 2019 sales levels.
What printing techniques do you offer?
LF: Offset and HP Indigo digital printing.
Do you offer foil options and embellishments?
LF: Yes, and silk soft touch lamination, multi-loft layered business cards. Custom die-cut shapes and cut outs.
What’s your opinion about the idea that “paper-based business cards (printed media) are no longer the ‘IT’ trend these days”?
LF: Well, in the 1970’s they said we would soon become a paperless society. Now, the US produces more printed products than ever before, far from a paperless society, so we are pretty confident business cards, along with other marketing and promotional materials, will be around for a long time.
What’s your main advice when it comes to business card printing?
LF: We like to stress that a good designed business card will go a lot further than a bad design with spot UV coating and foil stamping. Take your time, hire a good graphic designer (or us, we have designers on staff!) and work on a solid design that represents you and your brand.
Also, templated designs are not a bad thing, and in fact, are a much better alternative than having your aunt Edna design your business card in PowerPoint. Hire a graphic designer and work with them. The end result will be something you are proud to hand out.
Good design takes time and costs money. But good design pays dividends for years, long after the “shine” of foil stamping is gone.
Lastly, less is more in design.
Besides business cards, are there any other printing services you can offer to designers or small businesses?
LF: Yes, we are a full service, graphic design, printing, signage, mailing, promotional product company, trade show booths, tents. We also offer social media help, SEO and website design through our Marketing 360 product offering.
What other services can you offer to designers and agencies that will help them serve their clients better?
LF: We offer designers and agency clients the ability to run very small sample runs of high quality digitally printed business cards and marketing materials to help clients get a better idea of the final printed piece. Many customers really struggle with visualizing the final print from a digital PDF proof file.
We can even do small runs of digitally die-cut cards, much cheaper than costly metal die charges.
Does your company support sustainability/reduce waste? If so, how?
LF: Yes, we are FSC certified and offer many, many FSC papers and card stocks.
Normally, pricing is the main concern when it comes to printing. What’s your advice on dealing with this issue and what a business owner should do in order to have an economical yet stunning print result?
LF: We would disagree. Price is usually number 2 or 3 in a list, and turnaround time and quality are usually more important. Clients always ask about price, but most are concerned about how fast you can turn a job and at what level of consistency. We are G7 color certified, so corporate branding colors are consistent.
Does your company offer shipping service for business card printing? How about international shipping?
LF: We do ship internationally. We serve clients locally and nationally.
Do you spend time with your customers and provide advice and new ideas?
LF: Yes, and we have a giant sample selection of previously printed business cards and products that are always a hit. Nothing clears up confusion like holding quality printed samples in your hand.
What’s your best printing tip that you wish people would know?
Contact AlphaGraphics on Camelback
Franchise Owner: Larry Furlong
Address: 2120 East Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85016
Working Hours: Monday – Friday (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
Email: [email protected]