By Jason Cramp
TG Graphics was founded in 1981 in Montreal. The company started as a small enterprise, selling personal computers to the general public. In the late ’80s, the focus of the business changed when it became one of the first Roland distributors in Canada, carrying a range of products from pen plotters and vinyl cutters to high-performance, wide-format printers.
Through the years, the company has evolved to offer a complete line of brand name materials, equipment, and qualified technical service. It provides solutions for companies seeking to start, grow, or expand their businesses in all areas of signmaking and durable graphics. TG Graphics prides itself as being a service-oriented company, and its small business philosophy has been the cornerstone of its operations since day one. As such, TG Graphics is now divided into four solutions, each providing a mix of equipment and material to make it a turnkey solution: printing, dye sublimation, engraving, and computer numerical control (CNC).
In 2011, the company expanded into Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba to serve the signmaking industry across Canada. This year, TG Graphics teamed up with Epson America to open the first Epson Solution Centre in North America located at TG Graphics’ facility in Mississauga, Ont.
Sign Media Canada recently spoke with Al Proulx, the president of TG Graphics, to discuss the reason for opening the technology centre, what it will showcase, and what benefits it offers to print and sign shops.
Sign Media Canada (SMC): Why did TG Graphics partner with Epson to open this print technology centre?
Al Proulx (AP): Fifteen years ago, most customers wanted to see the printer in action prior to making a purchasing decision. Many buyers were just joining the industry and, as such, they had little or no knowledge whatsoever of printers in general. They came to our facility to see the equipment before diving into the printing industry. As the industry became more mature, the need to see the printers seemed to wane, and customers started to buy equipment largely based on specs they read in brochures or on the web. However, it seems like we have now come full circle.
Most print and sign businesses are once again interested in seeing the printing equipment and many also want to truly test the printer’s capabilities. The reason for this change is fourfold:
- First, I believe some print and sign shops that failed to do their homework on their last purchase now realize they need to be better informed this time around. They want to make sure they test the printers themselves to evaluate the print quality, the improved colour gamut, and the equipment’s true print output. Relying solely on the manufacturer’s specs sheet is no longer acceptable for some customers.
- It is no secret the wide-format printing industry has become a very competitive market. This means profit margins are not only tighter than ever, but also customers are now under pressure to acquire a printer that will give them a strategic advantage or, at the very least, allow them to keep up with their competitors.
- There is growing awareness that the best way to increase margins is to reduce the cost of finishing. However, many customers are still not familiar with the equipment (e.g. flatbed applicators, roll-to-roll or flatbed cutting tables, automated sewing, and welding systems) and how exactly it can help them reduce their production cost.
- Due to the competitive nature of our industry, another trend has become very clear. Many customers are looking for new revenue models and our demo centre is designed to showcase these different opportunities with printing equipment they may have never seen before.