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.
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.