Firehouse Blog

We are a Proven Graphic Communication Company Executing Innovative Print Initiatives for Valued Brands.

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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

Firehouse Outfits Indiana Goodwill Stores

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GoodwillStorefrontCroppedCentral Indiana Goodwill stores wanted a new graphic approach for their upcoming store launches. They called on Firehouse to bring innovative print options to their marketing team. We led with frame and fabric for its premium look, ease of installation and even easier graphic swaps in the future.

The fabric option was a hit, but their team wanted to add something for extra pop. Discussions centered around an additional, layered graphic on top of the the frame and fabric. Goodwill wanted that extra dimension for the “wow” factor. Custom-cut foamboard graphics were designed that could be attached to the framed pieces via magnets. Firehouse sourced additional bracing for the frames as attachment points for the magnets. The result was visually stunning and easy to install. The “refresh” was expanded to include smaller directional wall signs as well as rack toppers complete with new hardware sourced by Firehouse. All the graphic elements came together to complete the new in-store experience.
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Firehouse strives to bring continued success to our clients through innovative print solutions.

Paul Meek
Vice President of Operations

When is a Bargain NOT a Bargain?

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You generally get what you pay for. But, when you want inexpensive, rigid graphics, are they really a bargain? The answer is, “it depends.”

Firehouse’s least expensive rigid material is foamcore. It’s very popular because it’s lightweight and works great for many applications. So, when the job calls for rigid graphics on a budget, foamcore is usually the winner. That’s fine, but there is more to consider. The characteristics that make foamcore an attractive material also make it difficult to ship. Simply put, foamcore is easily damaged in shipping. It flexes, creases and dings. To help foamcore survive the trip to its final destination, we have to really beef up the packaging. We sandwich foamcore sheets inside 6 layers of corrugated cardboard to add rigidity. And, because corners are so easy to ding if the package is dropped, the box and corrugated sheets are several inches larger overall than the foamcore they protect. We often use what we call tube boxes that have a corrugated cushion on each side. All of that leads to a larger, heavier box with more filler.

Foamcore IS an inexpensive material, but consider this example. The packaging for a foamcore sign is roughly 6 times the cost of the sign itself. Unfortunately, corrugated cardboard isn’t free. We have to pass those costs on to our clients.

That doesn’t sound like a bargain any more. The alternative?

Packaging

An upgrade in your print material can allow us to downgrade the packaging. Switching to gatorboard or PVC sheets gives your graphics a much higher survival rate in shipping, and because they are more rigid and durable, all that extra cardboard isn’t needed. Another factor to consider is where the graphic is to be displayed. If it will be exposed to heat or direct sunlight, foamcore may have difficulty in that environment. Gatorboard and PVC are more stable choices there too.

So, the next time a project calls for foamcore, contact us and we can discuss material cost vs. packaging cost. Then you’ll really know you’re getting what you paid for.

Paul Meek
Vice President of Operations