NEW ULM - New Ulm's graphic design companies were honored Wednesday as the 2013 New Ulm Chamber of Commerce Industry of the Year.
The nine different companies included Apitz Printing, Beacon Promotions, Lime Valley Advertising in Mankato, Madsen Ink, Master Graphics, Preferred Printing in Madelia, Printwear Graphics, River Bend Business Products and Sid's Signs on Broadway.
Chamber CEO Audra Shaneman saluted the businesses and demonstrated the importance of a strong graphic logo for businesses, holding up the instantly recognizable logos of McDonald's Golden Arches, the Nike Swoosh and the Apple Computers Apple.
Staff photo by Kevin Sweeney
Representatives of the 2013 Industry of the Year companies pose with Mayor Bob Beussman. They are, from left, Brett Olsen, Beacon Promotions; Sid DeLeo, Sid’s Signs; Rick Apitz, Apitz Printing; Brian Maciej, Lime Valley Advertising; Mayor Bob Beussman; Donna Helget, Master Graphics; Matt Hansen, River Bend Business Products; Eileen Madsen, Madsen Ink; Dan McCabe, Preferred Printing; Mitch Madsen, Madsen Ink; LaDon Henderson and Dan Cline, Printwear Graphics.
The industries were given a few minutes each to talk about their business and what they do.
Their impact on the local economy is impressive. Brett Olsen of Beacon Promotions pointed out that in its 10 years, Beacon has acquired eight companies and moved their operations to New Ulm, employing 120 full-time employees today. It sends about 80,000 packages a year all over the country and around the world. It even sent a shipment of imprinted cups to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
Eileen Madsen, of Madsen Ink, represented the other end of the spectrum. She and her husband Mitch work together from the converted garage 10 steps from their home, but they provide professional expertise in graphic design, publication and layout. "You don't have to go to the Twin Cities to get professional service," she said.
Brian Maciej, owner of Lime Valley Advertising, said his company provides integrated marketing services, designing graphic elements, brochures, logos and web sites and making sure there is a consistent message across all formats. He pointed out that all the companies depended on each other for services.
"We would be dead without the printing businesses," he said.
Maciej pointed out the tremendous changes that technology has brought to the graphic industry. He said what hasn't changed over the years is the people in the business, and their passion to create new ideas and messages for their clients.
Dan Cline of Printwear Graphics said he and his partner LaDon Henderson, bought the business from founders John and Phil Vorwerk in 2007, coming over from Taylor Corp. They have been amazed by the acceptance and welcome they have received from the local community. That "community first" attitude is part of their business philosophy as well.
Sid DeLeo, of Sid's Signs, has perhaps been in business the longest, starting in 1972. "When I started out everything was hand painted, and I was NOT going to get a computer," he said. "Well, now we have five."
DeLeo lauded the wealth of talent in the room, the creativity that each business embodied.
Rick Apitz talked about his interest in graphics developing in high school, and working in the business since he was 18. He pointed out that all the businesses work together. "If a customer wants something that we can't do, we know who can."