Awards & Engraving

January '18

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10 • A&E JANUARY 2018 The Finer Line Expands Facility, Operations The Finer Line announces its move to a state-of-the-art facility in an effort to accommodate growth, meet customer demand, and expand its current capabilities. According to the Finer Line President Mark Case, the corporate awards and promotional products company was outgrowing its previous 7,500-square-foot location and borrowing space from its neighbors just to get by. "We looked at leasing a larger space," Case says, explaining that the cost of purchasing a new facility was comparable to leasing a building with more space. "We thought, if we're going to buy, we better make sure it's big enough to handle growth for many years." The hunt for a new facility would be a two-and-a-half-year road of decisions and, ultimately, an $800,000 renovation after purchasing a 31,000-square-foot property at 1701 Glenlake Avenue in Itasca, Illinois on March 31, 2017. "We began renovations to the property to make it our own—lighting, cosmetic, landscaping—you name it," he tells A&E magazine. More than triple the size of its previous location, the renovated facility was ready for its new occupants on October 5. With nine semi-trucks and a number of moving vans, the company closed operations and began settling in. Despite the Finer Line's decision to close the business during the week-long transition, Case says a majority of customers have been thrilled with the move in general. "We're much more easily accessible—only 5.5 miles from where we were, or a 10-minute drive," he stresses. "We gained way more than we lost." The Finer Line's new facility boasts several upgraded features. The space can now accommodate the company's equipment, including four lasers, three engraving machines, and four sand- carving cabinets, in addition to several digital printers—with room to grow. The company is already in the process of expanding its services across the board. "From a capabilities standpoint, we're expanding our laser engraving capabilities for larger flatbeds and we're also expanding our etching capabilities for more production-oriented equipment," Case explains, adding that the Finer Line also plans to add a vinyl printer. "We actually set up a room already that we call our digital printing room. Now we just need the equipment in there and to learn how to use it. Those are the areas we're looking to expand." The larger space will also facilitate the expansion of the Finer Line's company store programs, which offers warehouse space to house products for its larger clients. "The bigger space gave us much more room to accommodate those types of clients," he adds. Perhaps one of the most exciting features of the new building, Case notes, is the convenience of two loading docks, which streamlines the entire process to expedite shipping and receiving. "Our last location was commercial, but it didn't have any docks, just an overhead garage door. As we grew, we were getting more freight deliveries and shipments. Without a dock, it was very difficult," he explains. "This new building has two docks—a receiving side and a shipping side of the building—so workflow is so much better and much more organized. We can get things in and out of here so much quicker and with less effort. With nearly 700 clients, being able to quickly receive product, accurately fulfill, and ship orders is something we're really proud of. The new location streamlines that process even more." Finally, the facility can accommodate a growing staff, with 17 private offices and two conference rooms. Since the move in October, the Finer Line has already added one employee, with immediate plans to hire an additional employee in the customer service department. "Our goal has always been to provide excep- tional customer service and the highest quality products for our clients. The new facility will enable us to serve more clients while continuing to deliver on that promise," he explains. Ribbon-cutting events to celebrate are still in the works. "We're going to postpone it until (early this year). Then we'll have two different open houses—one for our end-users and one for our resellers," Case notes. Overall, the Finer Line's president feels that this investment reflects on the bright future of the company and its legacy. "We're obviously going to be around for a while, otherwise we wouldn't make an investment in a building like this with all the renovations," Case says, reflecting on the milestone. "I told my employees, 'I'm not doing this for me; I'm getting on and I won't be doing this forever. I'm doing this for you, so you guys will have a brighter and bigger future.' I think they all see that." News

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