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Active communication helps graphic design, printing firm

Quick turn-around on quotes and results as well as active communication with clients are some of the reasons Hilsher Graphics is set to soon celebrate its 50th year in business, said the owners.

Winners of the The Phillips/Plankenhorn Small Business Award, those at the graphics and printing company said they pride themselves on active communication with customers.

“We promise (customers) that we will not quit until they like what we make,” said Sally Hilsher, manager. “We deliver what we say we’re going to.”

Unlike competition, owners at Hilsher Graphics, at 1626 Riverside Drive, South Williamsport, said they encourage communication directly to their graphic design artists.

“We don’t have a middle man,” said Hilsher. “We have a lot of people who come into the office and while (the graphic designers) are working, they sit there and watch them design the item.”

This policy allows the company to function as consultants and use their experience to steer customers into the most effective design. The best logo, for instance, is one which recycles aspects or images from previous ones the client has used to maintain a degree of recognition.

“A lot of times we talk to our customers and find out what they really like. Some want a plain-jane look, others want the ‘wow’ factor,” she said.

Consistency is also necessary to create a focused brand, said Jayme Hilsher-Sherman, a saleswoman at the firm started by her great-grandfather.

“We try to listen to what they have in mind to create all these different marketing materials and go from there and make it cohesive,” she said. “That’s the biggest thing — trying to make sure that all of a company’s materials are cohesive.”

Sending emails can be effective, however Hilsher said her clients have reported strong success in mailed marketing campaigns.

“I think emails are great and can be effective, but today we’re getting so many. Sometimes they get overlooked or people don’t take the time to open them,” she said. “If you give them a printed piece, it’s something tangible, they can put it in their hands, it has your image on it.

With free warehouse storage, Hilsher Graphics works to make it easy to ship products with additional printed elements.

Additionally, Hilsher Graphics works to quickly deliver quotes, typically within 24 hours, and without the constant fees associated with advertising companies, said Hilsher.

As a small business, many employees have been with the firm for more than 20 years. That comfort allows them to double-check each other’s work to ensure the best product is delivered to the customer, she said.

“They know what we’re doing and they’re very experienced,” said Hilsher.

The business developed into a pre-press company in 1971 before expanding into a full-service printer and renovated to move into a former furniture warehouse with 14,000-square-feet of space in 1991.

Today, the firm has provided services to Lock Haven University, Lycoming County Historical Society, Hope Enterprises, and various hospitals and libraries, among many others.

“It’s all about customer service,” said Hilsher-Sherman.

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