For nearly 60 years, Stockson Printing Company has been serving the needs of suburban Baltimore. The family-owned and -operated print shop in Bel Air, Maryland, built a reputation for high quality printing at a fair price, and word of mouth from repeat customers allowed them to grow through three generations.
But the printing industry has evolved, and the Stocksons – Kim and John and their three sons Mat, Chris and Ryan – recognized the need to embrace the Digital Age. In 2016, they converted the company to an AlphaGraphics Business Center, building on their core service offerings while expanding to include elements such as large-format printing and direct mail as part of a full suite of marketing communications services.
“This was a major decision for us, and I’m happy to say that it has worked out well. Our sales have grown, particularly in new offerings like mail and large-format,” Kim Stockson says.
Aside from the brand presence and resources that AlphaGraphics brings to the table, she says their succession plan was also a major consideration.
“If this keeps growing like we expect it to, we’re planning on passing the torch to our sons as we retire,” she says. “We chose AlphaGraphics because they have a lot of families in their Network, and they were willing to help facilitate that transition plan.”
Ryan Stockson says the assistance with webpage development, social media, SEO, online orders and other tools that AlphaGraphics Franchisees enjoy has modernized their outreach to existing and prospective customers.
“This is like hiring a marketing person, but then there are all these other benefits that come with it,” he says. “Graphic design, marketing strategy, signage… these are opportunities we’d never even touched, and AlphaGraphics puts us in a position to offer that broad array of services that customers expect now, a total solution.
“I would say to an independent printer that this franchise model is really a no brainer for you.”