Firehouse Blog

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

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Firehouse Outfits Indiana Goodwill Stores


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.








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?


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?


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

The Specialty Graphic Imaging Association

terryblogThe Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) is an international trade association for the large-format graphics industry. Founded in 1948, SGIA has grown and evolved with the print industry. Its membership includes screen printers, wide format digital printers, photographers, offset printers, printed electronics providers, garment printers and more. Headquartered in Washington DC, SGIA is a vital partner for anyone in the printing industry. The SGIA website contains a wealth of resources to members including a vast archive of industry articles and webinars on everything from print technology to marketing your business.

Firehouse has been an SGIA member since 2005 and I have been serving on the board of directors since 2011. Our VP of Operations, Paul Meek, serves on the Graphics Production Committee, and he is the incoming chairperson for the Safety, Health and Personnel Committee for 2016. Committees meet annually and collaborate throughout the year to assist and support SGIA members.

SGIAmainThe annual trade show (SGIA Expo) has over 25,000 attendees, over 500 exhibitors and nearly 250,000 square feet of exhibit space. The 2015 show is coming to Atlanta on November 4.

It’s safe to say that SGIA has had a major impact on the evolution of Firehouse. There’s nothing like collaborating with your colleagues around the world who are all dealing with the same challenges.

I’ve also become heavily involved in a sub-group of SGIA named SPIRE. SPIRE is a network of CEOs and top executives, representing the industry’s leading producers of retail, point-of-purchase, OEM, transit, outdoor and similar graphic solutions. As the Chairman of SPIRE, I set the annual meeting agenda around topics of particular interest to the group. Our 2015 meeting was the Automation Summit.

Check out the SGIA website and consider becoming a member. Among the many benefits are free OSHA and environmental consulting, equipment reviews and industry statistics. I hope to see you in Atlanta or at our SPIRE meeting in 2016.

Terry Corman
Firehouse CEO