Firehouse Blog

Author Archive: Jon Heilman

The Same Firehouse… JUST BIGGER!

JonPicOldFirehouseFirehouse began its life in a 19th century fire station in 1971. Here’s a photo of the station circa 1910. Firehouse was a consumer and commercial photo lab. We spent our time with film processors and photo enlargers. When we moved out of that location in 2003, we had evolved into a digital printer for regional, retail clients. We had outgrown our fire station and moved to our current building at the near north side of Indianapolis. What we initially thought was an excess of space was soon filled. We expanded our services nationally, and then globally. We then added offsite warehousing for materials and equipment parts. To accommodate our growing business, and to speed our production lines, we decided to expand our facility this year. We have effectively doubled our production space and now can warehouse our materials on-site. This also allows space for new equipment and fulfillment areas in 2016.

We broke ground on this expansion back in June and it was completed in November. We’ve compressed that 5-month construction project down to a 90-second video.

If you prefer to watch time go by a bit slower, you can flip through the photo gallery below.

Jon Heilman
Marketing Director

What’s a Firehouse Boomerang?

JonPicIt’s long been true during Firehouse’s history that employees will leave the company and later return. Maybe they received a new job offer, were going back to school or just wanted to explore new opportunities. But after months, or years, many return to Firehouse. It happened so frequently, we named those employees boomerangs. I used to kid around about the term, until I became a boomerang myself. I left Firehouse in 1999 to pursue creative interests at several local ad agencies. A decade later, with the economic down-turn, I was one of many hit by a round of lay-offs. One of my first calls was to Firehouse. And, fortunately for me, they welcomed the opportunity to begin a marketing program, so here I am.

FirehouseBoomerangThe boomerang phenomenon speaks to Firehouse’s corporate culture. We have always said Firehouse is a unique mixture of a family-owned business with collaborative management practices. But, in basic terms, Firehouse is simply a great place to work. It’s a place where learning and personal development are nourished. A long-time employee recently wrote to CEO Terry Corman explaining why he was having so many successes in his personal and business life.

“I heard things like create a brand. Marketing. Email blasts. Create a business of business people. I took those things to heart, and basically sat every night applying them. I was told no, you’re not good enough more times than I can tell you. I was told to give up. Had I listened to any of that rather than filter it all out and persist, I would never have made it. I kept a positive focus on what I wanted. I now have articles and photos published world wide, I have been featured on a PBS TV show, one book in full production with a second (and possibly a third) on the way. All of this because I was at a place where I was tuned into hearing what you were saying and adopt some of it into my personal life.”

Not surprisingly, we see the boomerang effect with clients. Like employees, they explore other options, different vendors and technologies. More often than not, they return with comments such as, “Their print quality couldn’t match yours.” “Your QC team is SO much better.” “I really missed my Firehouse project manager.”

So, to all boomerang clients and employees, welcome back.

Jon Heilman
Marketing Director

File Creation Guidelines

JonPicFirehouse can print from most file types. But before you send us your Microsoft Publisher file (just kidding, don’t do that), know that the file format you provide can impact how fast your job moves into production. Not all file formats are created equal. In the on-demand marketplace, response time is everything.

Let’s try an analogy. Imagine a client wants a very specific food item from a caterer for an event, say a marinara sauce from an old family recipe. The client can send the caterer all the ingredients for the sauce. They would send tomatoes, garlic, onion, spices and a recipe to follow. But, what if the client forgot to send the basil? Or, the recipe isn’t clear how long to saute the onions? Substitute missing fonts, linked graphics or unclear print instructions and you get the idea.

IngredientsVSSauceNow imagine the client can simply make the sauce and send it to the caterer in a jar to serve at the event. Aside from grandmas around the world shrieking in horror about “SAUCE FROM A JAR!!”, the advantages are plain. Substitute a “High Quality Print” PDF file for the jar of sauce and my little analogy is complete.There are no questions about the content of that jar/PDF. It will be presented exactly as the client intended with no wasted effort.

Hours, or days, lost locating linked graphics or missing fonts can be a deadline killer. Sending High Quality Print PDFs (AKA print-ready PDFs) will eliminate many potential delays in the pre-production workflow. If nothing else sticks from this post, the number one take-away is to send High Quality Print PDF files.

I also asked our file prep team to list the most common problems they see with submitted files. Rather than make a simple do’s and don’t’s list, I decided to make a video to better illustrate these guidelines. This is a brief overview. I will go into more detail on specific topics in the near future. Any questions, leave a comment or send us an email at answers@fire-house.net.

Jon Heilman
Marketing Director