Interviews | September 20, 2019
New Member Spotlight: Firehouse
For more than 45 years, Firehouse has supported a vast partner network, delivering in-store retail graphic communication initiatives. The company’s mission, aside from delivering quality print products, is to make its partners’ jobs as pain-free as possible. With a vast inventory of print products, Firehouse promises to be a one-stop solution for large format graphics.
PSDA recently spoke with Ted Corman, global accounts manager at Firehouse, to learn more about challenges the company has faced, what it’s most proud of and what makes it unique.
What products and services does your company offer?
Firehouse is in the digital printing business. We got our start in the photo lab business where we would process film and make traditional photographic prints. As the digital camera was invented and the film processing business went away, we took our knowledge of color and equipment, and became a producer of signage and graphics. The change from photo lab to signage manufacturer has allowed us to produce and offer a variety of products over the years.
Much of what we are producing now is short-run posters, banners, window clings, yard signs, custom printed wallpaper, banner stands, table throws and fabric graphics. Basically, any kind of signage you would see in a retail environment, bank, restaurant, trade show or corporate setting, Firehouse can likely produce it.
What makes your company unique?
Firehouse has a motto we live by: “If you don’t like it today, wait ’til tomorrow; it will change.” Having the ability to constantly adapt and change is what makes Firehouse unique. We are always looking for new technologies and better ways to operate and serve our clients.
We embrace change and new ideas, and very few things stay the same for long periods of time. If there is a way to speed up production, save money or better serve clients, we are doing as much as we can to embrace that opportunity. What makes us unique is the ability to keep an open mind and constantly make the changes necessary to help our clients get their work done.
What challenges has your company faced, and how have you overcome them?
As our IT manager puts it, “We live in an Amazon world, and we have to figure out how to adapt.” The idea that you can search for anything online, find what you are looking for, buy it and have it show up the next day is the biggest challenge we are facing these days. Firehouse is doing all that it can to try and meet those kinds of needs, which means we are constantly upgrading our business.
Along with buying new equipment to reduce our turn times and costs to produce, we are currently in the middle of developing a paperless workflow system that will change how we operate. This system will do many things, but one of the great things it will do is allow clients to get quotes on their specific jobs and place orders whenever they choose. Once they have their quote, they will have the ability to upload their files and start the production process at whatever time they are working, from wherever they are working.
What is your company most proud of?
We have an incredible group of long-standing employees who work at Firehouse, and they are the engine to our business. I believe our employees are the core reason we have done as well as we have for as long as we have. There is nothing better than having a new client visit, take a plant tour and as they walk out the door they say, “I have been in a lot of production facilities like this, but I have never seen so many people so happy to be at work.”
What PSDA member benefits are you most excited to utilize?
We are brand new to PSDA and still navigating all the options that are available to us. However, I had the pleasure of attending my first CEO Summit this year. I was taken aback by the warm greetings and interactions that I experienced at my first CEO Summit. If everything else is half as good as the summit, then I can’t put into words how excited I am to be a member of PDSA. I look forward to digging into all the exciting avenues that PSDA has to offer.
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