For Rick Redwine, president of the new A/R Ink & Supply, a Lakewood, CO-based offset ink specialist, developing his own company is a dream come true.
Mr. Redwine’s career in the ink industry began in 1988, when he was doing electrical work for the company.
“I started at Crawford Printing Ink when I was an electrician, wiring mills and mixers for the company,” Mr. Redwine said. “I got to know Crawford Stephens, who had founded the company, and as we started to know each other better, he asked me if I wanted to start working with him.”
For Mr. Redwine, that meant learning all aspects of the business, from R&D and manufacturingto sales.
“I’ve learned from the ground up, starting in the back on paste, flexo and UV inks,” he said. “Mr. Stephens had been in the ink business for decades, and I learned a tremendous amount from hin.”
Mr. Redwine, who was vice president of Crawford Printing Ink for 16 years, had the opportunity to acquire the company when it closed its doors this year.
“Eve Stephens was retiring, and she made me a great offer,” Mr. Redwine said.
For Mr. Redwine, opening his new company requires dealing with many challenges, as he is relocating the new business while striving to meet the needs of his customers, who are primarily in Colorado and neighboring states.
“The biggest challenge is trying to be competitive with thebig national and international companies,” Mr. Redwine said. “Fortunately, the printing industry is finally starting to pick up in the region.”
In choosing his company’s new name, Mr. Redwine considered many options before deciding on a name that emphasizes his family.
“The name came from the initials from my daughter, Amber, and from my first name,” Mr. Redwine said. “We were trying to decide on a name for the company, and we were thinking of a variety of names, and it just came about.”
In order to best meet their customers’ needs, A/R Ink & Supply specializes in offset inks and supplies such as fountain solutions and solvents for blanket roller washes, and is also a distributor of Van Son’s VS5 series – “a phenomenal product,” Mr. Redwine said. – to larger commercial shops.
To survive in any industry, a small company has to provide strong service, and Mr. Redwine said that is the recipe that A/R Ink & Supply will be following.
“Service and specialty work are our long suits,” Mr. Redwine said. “We’re more service-oriented than the big companies. We started out selling to small commercial shops, and now we are selling to large four-color shops as well as small mom-and-pop shops. We also want to make a impact on the four-color market.”
Quality and innovation are also essential to A/R Ink and Supply.
“We do a lot of specialty inks for products such as signage, and do a lot of R&D, such as developing inks that can be used on clothing labels or that work on foils,” Mr. Redwine said. “Once you start delving into specialty applications, you realize that a lot of what you learn transfers to other applications.”
For Mr. Redwine, the opportunity to open his own ink business is a great challenge, and with his emphasis on service and specialty products, A/R Ink & Supply should have a bright future in front of it.