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  • 30 Oct 2010 3:14 PM | Keiji Obata (Administrator)

    Waterless Printing Finds a Welcome Home in Small Pennsylvania Town

    Bob Walker of Walker Printing readily admits his firm is a small printer located in a sparsely populated area. When we telephoned, Bob said he did not think his waterless printing company was worthy of a Currents newsletter article, especially compared to the much larger firms we have featured in other articles. Yet Walker Printing has been a member of the Waterless Printing Association for 11 years and now boasts a 6-color waterless printing press.

    In 1804 the county in which Kane is located was created and named after Thomas McKean, the second Governor of the State of Pennsylvania. At the time, there was only one known resident in the county. Today the population of the 1,000 square mile (2,590 square kilometers) county is around 50,000 people. The natural beauty of Allegheny National Forest surrounds Kane on three sides.

    Located in the north central part of Pennsylvania, USA, the city with its population of around 5,000 people, is a classic example of the American rural small town. Kane was founded in 1863 by American Civil War General Thomas L. Kane.

    The area’s glory days began in the 1850s when oil started to be extracted from the earth and sold to consumers for use in fuel oil burning lamps and for medicinal purposes. But the oil windfall did not last as the supply dwindled by the early part of the 20th century.

    As a resident of Kane, Walker Printing draws most of its printing business from the immediate area surrounding the company.  Pennsylvania’s major markets like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia or Erie are from 2 to 5 hours away by car. So how did this small printer, located in a rural area come to discover, and then flourish using waterless printing?  In Bob’s case the story goes back to his father who founded a small letterpress shop in 1952. By the time Bob took over the business from his father, it was time to begin a long struggle with the dampening systems of conventional offset presses.

    According to Bob Walker, for 20 years the firm endured the misery associated with finding the critical combination of chemicals blended with water. The struggle drove the pressmen to near despair and prevented the firm from achieving the quality and consistency it sought to deliver its customers.

    Despite the nagging offset dampening problems, Walker Printing sales increased as it took on new customers. Then Walker Printing’s perseverance paid off when Bob saw something that could put an end to all the troubles. At a printing equipment exhibition in 1992, Bob saw a new press that was advertised as being capable of easily switching back and forth between conventionally dampened offset and the then new and radical concept of waterless printing. It was almost as if the press manufacturer was saying, yes to waterless printing while holding conventional offset in reserve if the waterless process did not work out. Follow the manufacturer’s advice, Bob Walker decided to take on the new machine with an eye toward the probability that they would indeed switch back and forth between conventional offset and waterless printing.

    Walker purchased a 2-color version of the press. But after about 6 months of bouncing back and forth between the two printing methods, conventional dampening problems persisted. As a result Walker decided to dedicate the machine to waterless printing.

    For the next 4 years the 2-color waterless press performed admirably as it enabled Walker to take on new multicolor business. Soon 4-color process printing jobs were assigned to the press that gave the firm a printing capability that was unique among all the other printers in their market area.

    But 4-color process produced on a 2-color machine soon proved to be too disruptive and labor intensive. At the same time Bob Walker could see that the future of the firm was in full color printing.  Since the current machine had proven very capable, Walker decided to shop for a multicolor machine from the same printing press manufacturer.

    Today a 6-color half size press purchased in 2001, joins the 2-color machine. Other Walker equipment reflects the nature of jobs that come from the firm’s 30 customers. These include a 2-color envelope press, offset duplicators, and a very well-equipped bindery with mailing equipment.

    Walker Printing does business with one of the largest banks in the state of Pennsylvania. The bank’s relationship with Walker Printing dates back to 1976 when Bob Walker promised that his firm could print better quality envelopes. Soon better envelope printing led to the printing of a variety of brochures.  And over the years the business grew from simple single color to full color printing.

    It is true that most of the IWPA’s waterless printer members around the world are located in or very near major metropolitan areas.  In this regard Walker Printing is unique. Walker is also unusual because it uses waterless printing technology in such a small market.

    Despite Walker’s small size and remote location, the company is a shinning example of success in waterless printing. As a result, we think Walker is worthy of this feature in the IWPA website

    (Photo to come)
    At Walker Printing in the small town of Kane, Pennsylvania, this colorful pressroom proclaims the 6-color capability of the company headed by Bob Walker.  Walker’s waterless journey began modestly with a 2-color machine and later grew to include this machine.
  • 30 Oct 2010 3:10 PM | Keiji Obata (Administrator)

    Simple Paves Way to Success

    How do you turn a small print shop with limited print color reproduction and services into a fully integrated marketing firm.  First, don’t confuse people with printing technical jargon. Second, offer full color printing at a reasonable price with quick turnaround.  And third, expand your services to include powerful marketing tools like variable data.

    This is the way family owned Effects of Color (EOC) has prospered in recent years. The firm is headed by the husband and wife team of Robin and Joe Eschenberg who bought a company called Minute Man Press in 1987. At the time of the purchase, Robin and Joe had no direct experience in printing. Joe’s only qualification was work in the graphic design business and fine art. Today management has expanded to include the Eschenberg’s daughter Hayley who serves as vice president sales and marketing.

    When the Minute Man Press was purchased in 1986 the pressroom was limited by two-color presses. The Minute Man franchisers got the business moving by providing printing training for the entire staff.  Meanwhile, Robin Eschenberg was and remains EOC’s  main sales generator.  She spent many years cold-calling on potential customers. Until about seven years ago four-color work was done for them by other printers. By 2004 the amount of color work and its potential to bring in new business was such that they decided to purchase the Heidelberg Quickmaster DI.

    The new press prompted the Eschenbergs to form a separate corporation called Effects of Color.  It was an appropriate name for the fledgling four-color printing shop. Since then the firm has added more color equipment in the form of a HP Indigo and, just recently a speedy Konica C8000. These two machines enable their variable data capability and often includes the swapping out of photos the appeal to a specific audience. Hayley Eschenberg reports that these two machines are also quite useful when it comes to printing specified Pantone colors or plain black ink.

    EOC is located in the town of Hauppage almost exactly in the middle of New York’s Long Island.  Most of their business comes from the surrounding towns and counties. They even have clients in nearby New York City and the surrounding states of New Jersey and Connecticut.

    With two college degrees from Hofstra University, one in marketing and the other in psychology, Hayley over sees the creation and distribution of their own direct mail programs for high visibility in the region. They maintain their own mailing list which is constantly updated and expanded.

    Their recently upgraded web site is a simple presentation of their offerings.  Four color printing, on demand marketing collateral, direct mail and fulfillment, variable data and marketing promotional items. Three separate blocks succinctly emphasize three basic company assets: printing (includes on demand collateral materials), marketing (variable data and marketing promotions) and eco-friendly (highlighting FSC paper and waterless printing.

    A well executed portfolio page features brochures, sell sheets and direct mail samples in thumbnail form.  When you click on the little sample image, it opens a very large window showing the item in greater detail. There are no long equipment lists which helps keep the site clean and fresh looking.

    Instead of focusing on themselves, the EOC news section offers valuable business tips with articles on everything from brand building to trade show marketing. This page is regularly updated and has featured as many as five interesting articles published in a single month. According to Hayley Eschenberg, the web site has generated a substantial amount of new clients. We admire the tasteful simplicity of their site. Perhaps the look of the was is inspired by Joe Eschenberg’s artistic sensibilities. Joe is an accomplished fine artist whose work has been shown in New York City and the Hamptons area of Long Island. He has his own art gallery in his house in the Hamptons, a very popular vacation spot during the summer months.

    Despite their lack of experience in the early years, the Eschenbergs have made their business an outstanding success. See them at

    (Photo to come)

    Left to right, Robin, Joe and Hayley Eschenberg of Effects of Color.

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