March 18, 2012

Chippewa Graphics

Printer moves beyond ink

By Todd NelsonA turnaround story is rolling off the presses at Chippewa Graphics as the American Indian-owned commercial printer invests in new equipment, expands beyond printing and transitions to third-generation ownership.

Like many printers, Chippewa Graphics lost business in the recession, which only added to the challenges posed by the industry's longer-term transformation from higher-margin craft to cut-rate commodity. The company cut jobs and reduced pay for remaining employees.

But Chippewa Graphics has rebounded, posting profits in the past two years. Pay cuts have been restored as the company worked to transform itself from an ink-and-paper based printer to a print marketing services company.

To that end, Chippewa Graphics has brought in a new $860,000 offset press that will improve productivity and lower costs while offering new services to clients in new markets, such as printing packaging and inserts for pharmaceutical companies.
Comment:  For more on Chippewa businesses, see Minority Construction Firm of the Year and Chippewa Inventor Has 35 Patents.

Below:  "Randy Blackorbay, president of Chippewa Graphics and Skyblue Graphic Services, and Robert Blackorbay, general manager, in their plant in New Hope. The younger Blackorbay is in a three-year leadership development program that is part of the company’s transition plan." (Joel Koyama/Star Tribune)

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