A Lawrence-based printing company is hoping to double its sales of $2.5 million a year by sinking $500,000 into a new press that requires the addition of five employees.
And with Kansas University poised to line up contracts for an estimated $2.2 million in printing work this academic year, Kyle Johnson figures the new Komori L-640C six-color press couldn't arrive at a better time.
"We already do a bunch of work for a bunch of departments up at KU," said Johnson, whose family owns Kingston Printing Inc., 2220 Del. "At KU, it's a huge undertaking. There are so many different departments. So many different things need to be done : and we'd like to do more."
Kingston Printing is among 22 printers that submitted bids for work left open for competition by the closing this spring of Printing Services, the university's longtime printer.
Lynn Bretz, a KU spokeswoman, said that the available work represented about $2.2 million worth of photocopies, business cards, stationery, brochures, catalogs and other materials. The contracts - the first of which could be in place by the end of next week - will not cover the Kansas University Endowment Association or KU athletics.
KU closed Printing Services with hopes that hiring out the work would benefit the school. The printers submitted competitive bids for various portions of the work.
"Printers are already seeing some of the business," said Bretz, who noted that departments have been lining up contracts themselves as they wait for the larger deals to be approved. "The contracts, hopefully, will make things more efficient and effective for us.
"Everybody on campus is hoping to see this resolved. Writing bid specs for individual jobs is time consuming."
Johnson said that Kingston continued to be plenty busy, with work at KU and otherwise. The print shop's clients include three marketing and public-relations firms: Callahan Creek in Lawrence, and Bernstein-Rein Advertising Inc. and Stephens & Associates Advertising in the Kansas City area.
Kingston also handles work for the Kansas City Chiefs, printing media guides and "Gameday" programs for sale at Arrowhead Stadium.
The new press - which will be able to tackle six-color jobs, including the application of a shiny or dull finish on pages - already has prompted the company to add two full-time employees to its 20-employee operation, Johnson said. Another three will be added in the coming weeks.
"This is really an extension of what we can do now," Johnson said. "It allows us to do things faster, and it allows us to do things more efficiently."
Kingston is on track to have sales this year of $3 million, he said.