When a California-based printing corporation decided to shutter its Asheville branch in May, the local owner of the business and his laid-off workers had a reply: not so fast.
Jeffrey Jones, president of the print shop on 45 Asheland Ave., decided to reopen the business himself and renamed it Asheville Color and Imaging. Purchasing all new equipment and investing his own money, Jones was able to relaunch in a little over a month, bringing back all but one of his four employees.
“When they came in and closed the office, they just emptied the building and moved everything out of state,” says Jones of his former employer (ARC Document Solutions). “That's when I thought what a great opportunity, especially because of the customers we had, to bring this back and bring back the services.”
Jones says the corporation gave no reason or advance notice of the closure. He says business was steady and they had a full roster of clients. Jones believes headquarters did not have a future interest in Asheville.
Kathy Wadham, a color production supervisor, had only been on the job for two months when she showed up that Friday in May, only to be told she no longer had a job.
“It was a real shocker, like I said, because we had tons of jobs waiting to get done," Wadham recalls. “They started moving stuff out on [the following] Monday. All the jobs we had [pending] for clients in Asheville, they moved down to the Greenville location. There were a lot of nightmares with that.”
Wadham reports that even though they’ve only been open since early July, so far many of their old clients are jumping back on board. The company specializes in printing large- and small-format digital prints, signs, posters and banners, among other services.
Jones says he never foresaw becoming a small, independent business owner, but says the transition has been natural one.
“It didn’t scare me,” he says of buying the business. “It’s a lot of work, but I’ve had management experience before. I started out earlier in my career in the printing and digital business.”
Jones and Wadham describe the present mood at ACI as exciting. Says Jones: “We’re really looking forward to bringing back the customers that kind of got let go. There was no notification to them either. They think it’s great that we’re bringing it all back.”
— Julia Ritchey can be reached at 251-1333, ext. 122, or email@example.com.