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Cushing finds opportunities in digital printing: fourth-generation company continues its evolution into an innovative display graphics firm.

Opportunities for digital printing are continuing to grow, from brochures and banners to point-of-purchase displays and custom bound book printing, and printers are using new technologies to grow their businesses and serve their clients.

Chicago, IL-based Cushing is a leader in the field of digital printing. Founded in 1929 by John Cushing, a busy truck driver who bought out his employer, National Blueprint Co., and opened Cushing & Co. on Oct. 1, 1929, just a month before the stock market crash and the Great Depression. Cushing conducted every sales call for the blueprint company and grew the fledgling business.

Now, 87 years later, Cushing retains its family roots, while growing into new fields: John Cushing Jr. took the company into special paper manufacturing. Cathleen Cushing-Duff and Joseph X. Cushing, grandchildren of the founder, led the company from blueprints and specialty papers to on-site service centers, scanning technology and digital printing.

Cushing is now a fourth-generation family business, led by president Cathie Cushing-Duff and EVP Joseph X. Cushing. Brother-in-law Brian Burke is the corporate asset manager. Nephew Matthew Cushing is an account manager in the sales department.

In 2017, Cushing continues to evolve into a display graphics firm, providing creative solutions and exceptional customer service. From graphic designers to event planners, the customer base is growing and diverse.

Cushing has persevered by choosing outstanding people, enhancing service offerings, and focusing on innovation, continuing to reinvent Cushing with each passing change in technology. The company continues to grow as a result, and relocated the company to a new location in the River North area of Chicago in June 2017. As part of the move, Cushing has invested in a new HP Scitex FB750 flatbed press.

"We spent several months contemplating many factors of this move and are thrilled to stay downtown and be part of the continued growth in River North. It's an integral part of our brand," said Joseph X. Cushing. "We look forward to seeing clients, old and new, in the shop and around the neighborhood."

Cushing specializes in a wide array of printing, including posters, brochures, custom-bound books, postcards, outdoor signage, indoor wall graphics and custom vinyl wall graphics, to name a few. Joseph X. Cushing noted that short runs are a particular strength of the company.

"As a digital imaging service bureau, we do short runs (1300) of oversized display graphics as a niche (variable data included--small or large format)," Cushing noted. "We do all sorts of finishing, mounting, laminate, installs, packaging, box building, and fulfillment ourselves.

"Cushing offers digital printing capabilities, from a small format Indigo Press, to wide format (eight feet wide) poster and banner printing on Epson, Canon and HP latex devices," he added. "We also print directly to rigid substrates up to 5'x10' on our brand new HP Scitex printer."

A certified Woman-owned business, Cushing is part of ReproMAX, a network of a 100 companies in 125 markets, and work with them every week to fill deadlines in more than 275 print locations, from Vancouver to Hawaii and London.

Cushing added that Cushing's web tools are ideal for loading and internally tracking projects from origination to invoice.

"Every project is unique, so we can track and proof the details of multi-faceted projects," he noted. "Some we design, others we print only, while others we are taking and installing on site at our clients' offices. This is exhausting but an ongoing requirement."

In terms of inks, Cushing works with OEM suppliers.

"Truthfully, the inks and toners are dictated to everyone in our industry by the manufacturers," said Cushing. "While certain devices use solvent inks, others use wet or dry toner, and almost all of them include the use of their toners in their service agreements. Traditionally, we have always gone with inks branded by the machine manufacturer and tend to stay away from off-brand inks.

"Almost all inks are pigmented to minimize fading these days; it used to be just the black toners were," he added. "The most unique toner in our current arsenal is the latex toner introduced by HP; water based, it is extremely safe and sustainability conscious. Other unique inks are white ink and silver inks from Epson. HP and Oce also have terrific white inks."

Cushing added that the company's employees make a huge difference. "We engage in two company-wide programs: Go the Extra Mile award and MVC Most Valuable Co-worker," he said. "Each team member earns points that pay out for items such as restaurant or retail gift certificates. We honor the top five award winners at an annual company party, during Customer Service Week in October.

"We are in a service business in an industry, hit with several paradigm shifts resulting from technology," Cushing concluded. "Our solution is recruitment, cross-training and doing our best to honor our employees. In a world where it is challenging to keep employees on board for more than two years, well over half of ours are at or above five years and about 25% of them are over ten-year + employees."

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Author:Savastano, David
Publication:Ink World
Date:Jul 1, 2017
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