Where graphics production is a family affair
By Lori Leaman
Advanced added several pieces of equipment during the following decade to support the business's growth: vinyl plotters from Gerber and Allen Datagraph, an M&M graphics press, another Filbar graphics press, and two Cincinnati one-arm presses. Ramsey expanded his staff in 1995. He hired Susie Basso as art director and appointed Brian Nordmoe to serve as the company's president and general manager. Nordmoe was engaged to Ramsey's daughter, and the personal connection created some initial concern for both men. However, Nordmoe was quick to seize the opportunity, especially since he was ready to hang up the suits and ties he previously wore in the corporate world.
Advanced's growth, while welcomed, also challenged the shop. The company occupied seven spots in a ten-unit facility, and the building's odd layout eventually burdened the production workflow. Doors connected the seven rooms, and each room housed a different piece of equipment. The employees had to carry substrates, by hand, through several sets of doors during production. Carrying substrates that wouldn't fit through the doors meant taking the materials outside and into the next room. To make matters worse, the facility lacked a forklift and loading bay, so the staff had to unload shipments from the delivery trucks by hand.
Ramsey soon realized that relocating to a larger facility—one that would support a layout more conducive to the screen-printing workflow—would make it easier for Advanced to continue growing the number of orders, personnel, and pieces of equipment in the shop. He then met with his insurance agent, who was also a trusted friend, and began discussions about purchasing a five-acre lot not far from the company's original location. Ramsey initially had reservations about such a purchase, but his friend's ideas about Advanced's success inspired Ramsey to take the leap. He purchased that five-acre lot and moved Advanced to it in 1996. Three buildings stand on the parcel, one of which Advanced calls home.
"Small companies need good ad-visors around them—the right people to see the vision and future of the company," Ramsey says. His advisors certainly realized early on the benefits Advanced would gain from its land purchase. The acquisition allowed for more than just expansion on the property: A nearby landfill is undergoing conversion into a golf course, presenting Advanced with the potential for a significant increase in real-estate value.
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