Imagine an ink jet printer big enough to produce pages 20 feet wide, with images as clear as a photograph. Dan Griesemer and Stuart Thatcher couldn't imagine their business without it.
Together, Griesemer and Thatcher are co-owners of Impact Imaging, manufacturers of "grand format" graphics for billboards and building wraps. The technology for these "larger-than-life" printers has been around for nearly 10 years, but Thatcher said it has taken off only in the past five years.Griesemer, who describes himself as a generalist in an age of specialists, started his career working in commercial and residential heating and air conditioning.
While in Puerto Rico 25 years ago, Griesemer saw what he thought was a good idea - mobile billboards pulled behind a vehicle. Twenty years later, he met Thatcher, a former billboard salesman, and they refined the idea to build truck-mounted, three-sided billboards. Impact Imaging was soon created.
Thatcher said he learned how effective billboards were while working as director of marketing for Morris Air.
"Morris used a lot of billboards in their advertising," Thatcher said. "What I noticed was that billboards didn't have good responsiveness, because they're stationary. That's why a mobile billboard looked so good."
Once the first truck was designed and leased, Griesemer and Thatcher discovered that it was difficult to find a printer who could print high-quality signs in a reasonable length of time.
A trip to a printer show introduced them to grand format printing machines. A salesman offered free use of a printer for 90 days in exchange for space to place it during that time.
At the end of the 90 days, Griesemer and Thatcher had built a clientele that would sustain the purchase of Impact's own printer. The revenue firm the leasing of the trucks supported the growing printing business, and within a year, the printing business was self-sustaining and expanding.