Foxfire Printing grows by focusing on retailing

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Foxfire CEO John Ferretti
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Foxfire CEO John Ferretti
Foxfire CEO John Ferretti

The new Roland press at Foxfire Printing and Packaging is an impressive  piece of machinery.

One of the world’s largest presses of its kind,  the Roland  can print a sign, poster or other product with a width up to 73 inches.

The press –  built in Germany and housed in a production and distribution center at Foxfire’s complex in the Delaware Industrial Park south of Newark – reflects  a  continuation of the company’s strategy of serving retailers with printed material and packaging  that increase sales. Foxfire was founded in Newark  by CEO John Ferretti in 1991. It gained a solid  niche in the printing industry by printing and packaging  computer software.

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Later, the industry saw a digital shift  as distribution changed from discs to online downloads.

Armed with a growing knowledge of retailing,  the company shifted its focus to supplying  printed materials used on the sales floor.  The materials, while taken for granted by customers, are a key element of  grocery, drug and other stores, by providing pricing, promotions and even nutrition information.

Foxfire, early on, moved beyond the printing world, acquiring a Maryland  company with proprietary software. The software allowed Foxfire to move into the business of improving the efficiency of the labor-intensive task of installing shelf strips, signs and other items when sales promotions take place.

Foxfire also took on some of the characteristics of technology companies, using venture capital as a way to finance expansion. That also led to venture capital representatives on the board of directors who brought  and diverse areas of expertise.

The company last year received a state loan used as part of the final package that brought the press to Delaware.  Ferretti says the  investments by Foxfire aim to build sales for customers  and reduce the amount of time required to install materials.

Foxfire aids the process by shipping a kit that arranges  materials, such as shelf price strips,  based on the configuration of the store. The software can also be used at stores that want to do their own printing.

The larger press  adds additional tools for retailers  through its ability to print out large posters and other materials, according to Ferretti.

During a quick tour of the building housing the press, Ferretti took note of a large poster with an image of  a store offering that will help drive sales.

The new  press and the addition of eight new customers has Foxfire on a growth track.

Employment now stands at 180, with plans for that number to move to 200.

Foxfire  plans to  hold a job fair on Sept. 21 at its  Tyler Way location in Delaware Industrial Park.

The event aims to attract candidates in areas, ranging from packaging to information technology and  graphic design.  (Click here for further information).

Late last year, the company was  named a winner for Inc. magazine  Hire Power Awards.

The company was named the  top private business job creator in Delaware  and No. six in manufacturing.

Foxfire came out of the recession with  double-digit growth rates.

Despite the growth at Foxfire, Ferretti sees  the overall economy remaining on the sluggish side. That situation will continue “until we get more people back to work,” Ferretti says..

Foxfire has been aided by a diverse customer base that includes dollar stores that lure price-conscious customers and have seen strong growth.

Another plus has been a modest trend toward manufacturing moving back to the U.S.

One widely reported  example  is  Foxfire  customer and Delaware Valley construction toy-maker K’Nex.

K’Nex  reports that moving manufacturing back to this country allowed the company to move faster in moving new products to market.

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