A longtime offset printing and mailing company in suburban Buffalo has been acquired by a larger Pittsburgh-based firm, bringing new services to the local company's clients while introducing a new competitor to the marketplace.
Dual Print & Mail in Cheektowaga has merged with Knepper Press, a full-service commercial printing firm that offers offset and digital production, mailing, warehousing and distribution services. The deal, which closed in November, combines the 132nd- and 150th-ranked printing firms in the country, according to a 2018 listing by Printing Impressions. The purchase price was not disclosed.
Knepper and Dual Print will continue to operate separately, with Dual Print's management and workforce of about 60 largely intact to continue serving its local clients – one of the conditions of the deal. The deal also gives Knepper increased scale and buying power, and allows both firms to cross-sell services to each other's clients.
"We've known about each other's companies for some time," said Knepper CEO Ted Ford. "It's a great team of people we have at the Dual facility."
Dual Print handles traditional volume printing, including sporting event programs, magazines, directories, signs and posters. It had previously been owned by Grand Island-based Compu-Mail, a digital direct-mail printing company owned by Michael Vitch.
Vitch and Compu-Mail had acquired Dual Print in 2014, when the smaller firm was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, and Vitch saw an opportunity to save jobs and provide another service. At the time, demand for offset printing was higher among Compu-Mail's customers because they were ordering large quantities of printed materials that were not as easy to produce digitally. But that trend has since shifted, as customers prefer more targeted and customized direct mailings with smaller volumes, so Vitch no longer needed Dual Print's larger-scale capabilities.
"If you are a marketer, you want the best return on your marketing investment," Vitch said. "Do you spray and pray, or do you want to use a rifle approach? That's what we do."
Under the agreement, Compu-Mail will remain a customer of Dual Print, and will promote its former subsidiary to its own clients. "They have a very strong reputation and have done great work," Vitch said. "That's why I'm excited about the work going forward, because Compu-Mail still has incentives to continue to make that business grow and prosper."
Knepper already dominates the printing industry in the Steel City, and also operates throughout western and central Pennsylvania, including Erie. It previously acquired the customers and business of The Buffalo News' commercial printing division, which allowed it to expand into the Western New York market in the first place.
But gaining Dual Print's production facility at 340 Nagel Drive – for which Knepper paid $1.6 million, according to the deed filed in the Erie County Clerk's office – now gives it a physical plant from which to operate locally and grow its new business. Additionally, the two companies use similar equipment, so Knepper can shift work back and forth between Buffalo and Pittsburgh as needed.
"It's a good deal for Knepper Press, a good deal for Compu-Mail, and a good deal for the employees of Dual Print & Mail," Vitch said.