Quik Print to pick up city's print job

Quik Print to pick up city's print job
June 25, 2009
The Wichita Eagle

Fifty-two years in the printing industry have given Johnny Tarrant a pretty good sense for the winds of change.

To hear him tell it, those winds have reached gale force in the past three to five years.

"We're not in the printing business anymore," said Tarrant, president of Quik Print in downtown Wichita. "We are in the communication business. Being in the communication business, we have to look at how we can expand and think outside the box."

Quik Print, founded in 1963, offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, such as annual reports and wedding announcements. But as the Internet has dwindled demand for printed products, Tarrant and his employees have had to respond to the challenge of staying viable.

Recently, that quest received a nice boost. The Wichita City Council on June 9 unanimously approved a recommendation to outsource the city's print shop and mailroom services to Quik Print. The 18-month agreement begins July 1.

"The city has something like 24 different departments," said Susie Tarrant, Johnny's wife and co-owner of Quik Print locations in Wichita and Topeka. "It's really no different than getting a lot of customers walking in the door.

"A whole bunch walked in the same day."

City finance director Kelly Carpenter showed the council cost-analysis figures that Quik Print could save the city approximately $150,000 annually compared with its internal print shop. That total, according to the Tarrants, will be higher as Quik Print determines the more economical printing solution for each job with its digital and offset options.

Johnny Tarrant said he expects to expand his staff to 12 soon by hiring four new employees. Two will work in the city building, handling orders in part with Xerox equipment that Quik Print obtained by taking over the city's lease.

"One of the things we have done is establishing online ordering, and the city will use that too," Johnny Tarrant said. "They will go to our Web site, punch in their password and do their orders, even though we'll be in the same building with them initially. They can send us their order electronically and we can send it back to them."

It's all part of technological advances that Tarrant says have moved more rapidly this decade than in his five previous decades in the printing industry combined. It can be a tricky maze to navigate, however, as equipment and software quickly become obsolete.

"We need to stay abreast of that technology," Tarrant said. "But every time new technology comes along, before you invest that money in it, you want to make sure you'll get a return on that investment."
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