September '20

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118 • RV PRO • September 2020 rv-pro.com "The number of pieces is usually what sets a job apart," says Juan Flores, the com- pany's plant manager. "We use different metallics for different colors, and then print the effects. That's what really makes the difference in a job." How important are the print effects? Well, the company has one graphic artist working solely on new print effects for next year's graphics. Flores is particularly proud of the work Graphix Unlimited puts into every name badge that goes on a unit. "Some of them can be simple, but other customers go with a more-expen- sive upgraded name," he says. "Usually it's on chrome with a one- or two-color print, but it all depends on the budget. We have the capability to do the hard, raised plastic that you see on cars." Nor does the company's involvement end when the pieces are all printed, cut, and delivered to an OEM. Graphix Unlimited also works with the installation crew on a regular basis. "Usually when we go through a model change and they're starting a new design, we go out for the first few units," says Vitali. "We give them diagrams and we make sure they're comfortable with what they're doing. And, we go out regularly to check on the applicators. That's part of the customer ser- vice they appreciate from us." It may seem like an awful lot of work to stick a few pieces of vinyl on a wall, but the reality is graphics play an important role in any RV unit. Says Vitali of her clients, "They want people to be impressed." While that exterior paint job and graphics package are something the new owner will live with – hopefully for several years – it also represents a key piece of marketing. "The OEMs want their models to stand out, but not for the wrong reasons," Vitali says. "They don't want people to just walk by a new unit. They want people to walk inside so they can see all the bells and whistles and upgrades." Measuring Success Fortunately, Graphix Unlimited doesn't shy away from challenges. These days, one of its other profit centers is printing decals for U.S. military vehicles, particularly for its fleet of Humvees. "We print those in every language you can imagine," says Vitali. "Because we have to make sure they're right, we work with certified translators for some of these; we print them, but we can't read them." That association also allowed the com- pany to stay open during the pandemic. And, thanks to diligent employees and good sanitation practices, as of mid-July Graphix Unlimited had only reported three cases of COVID-19. One thing the company has gotten away from is providing replacement graphics for damaged RVs. Because there are indepen- dent companies that specialize in that work, Graphix Unlimited is happy to share its art files with them but won't do the work itself. "We're set up to do large-volume work," says Vitali of the change. "It just wasn't cost-effective for us." However, the new CEO is eying expan- sion in other areas, including interior graphics aimed at homes and offices, as well as – possibly – RVs. "We're going to be producing interior wallpaper, removable, repositionable wall- paper, wall murals," she says. "We'll also be doing window coverings to produce effects like frosted windows or stained- glass style windows." Those items will include online sales through such vendors as Amazon or Etsy. At least for the present, the company also is offering COVID-related floor graphics and an antimicrobial vinyl that inhibits the growth of bacterial and viruses on surfaces. The company also is in the process of developing a new logo and website to reflect the product additions; both should be unveiled before the end of the year. Beyond utilizing some excess capacity, one reason behind the expansion, Vitali says, is the sometimes-up-and-down nature of the RV industry – although she believes COVID-19 could prove to be a blessing in disguise. "Our orders are coming in pretty well right now, and it seems the RV industry is staying strong," she says. "I know that sales have gone up, and on some of the online forums people are on waiting lists. That's a good forecast for us." Asked to define Graphix Unlimited's greatest success, though, and Vitali goes back to the company's reputation for customer service and the employees – many of whom have been there for more than a decade. "Customer service is very important to us and our customers see that," Vitali says. "That's why they stay with us, and that's why some of them come to us before they'll go to anyone else. It gives a certain level of comfort to call and deal with the same people. "Success isn't always measured by the purchase order," she says. Worker Lindsey O'Conner monitors the screen printing of large volume orders. "We're set up to do large-volume work," CEO Melissa Vitali says.

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