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VOL. 124 | NO. 117 | Wednesday, June 17, 2009

EM Printing Moves HQ to Bartlett

By Eric Smith

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“We always leased space and this is the first time we are actually owning our own location. Hopefully it is the last time we move.”
– Ken Quick
Owner, EM Printing

Ken Quick launched EM Printing from his parents’ garage in 1981. Back then, it was a two-person operation called East Memphis Printing, with Quick and his mother managing all of the nascent company’s printing jobs.

Fast forward 28 years and EM Printing, which specializes in commercial printing work for advertising agencies and corporate marketing departments, looks much different than it did in the beginning.

Quick long ago moved out of his parents’ garage, bought out his mother’s share of the business, shortened the company name and added a host of employees, now numbered at 36.

After 10 years in Cordova following stints near the airport and in Century Center, EM Printing is on the verge of another milestone. Quick bought a 43,795-square-foot warehouse at 3081 Bartlett Corporate Cove in Bartlett, where the company will consolidate its operations around the end of the year.

For Quick, the decision to relocate, especially in these challenging economic times, was a difficult one. But the time was right for EM Printing to find a permanent home.

“We always leased space and this is the first time we are actually owning our own location,” Quick said. “Hopefully it is the last time we move.”

Putting down roots

Operating under the entity Quick Real Estate LLC, Quick paid $2.4 million for the Class A industrial building that sits on 2.52 acres on the south side of Bartlett Corporate Cove, which is northeast of the intersection of Brother Boulevard and Stage Road.

The space almost doubles EM Printing’s current square footage. The company leases 24,000 square feet on Trinity Road in Cordova – 16,800 feet in its main facility and 7,200 feet in another building across the parking lot for the recently added mail department.

“We may not have done it had we not already planned to,” Quick said. “But our sales have been consistent and been up, so we went ahead and forged on with our plan.”

Quick bought the building from Thomas M. Ezzell Jr., and for the next four months EM Printing will lease the property back to the tenant. Then, Quick said he will perform minor renovations to the building, the bulk of which involve digging up some concrete in the back where printing presses will be placed. The remainder of the remodeling will be office reconfigurations.

EM Printing will occupy all of the building, although the company won’t take up the entire space once it moves in. Quick saw this Bartlett building as something he could adapt to the company’s growth potential.

“We’ll definitely have some room to grow,” Quick said. “That’s going to help us significantly.”

Growth mode

In conjunction with the sale, Quick Real Estate filed a $2.2 million loan through FirstBank. The transaction also included an encroachment agreement providing an easement along a stretch of concrete separating the sold property from another parcel owned by the seller directly behind or due west of the warehouse.

John Reed of The Shopping Center Group was Quick’s broker for the property. Quick said he didn’t choose the building based on its particular location, because he doesn’t typically get a lot of walk-in traffic.

“However, we do have clients that come for press checks where we have to be accessible as far as getting there,” Quick said. “And, we work seven days a week, 20-hour days with two shifts. We have people coming all hours of the night, so we needed it in a relatively safe area.”

As for the move from Cordova to Bartlett at the end of the year, Quick said the transition will take about two weeks. The company will operate from both facilities as equipment gets moved from one locale to the other.

“It will be a little inconvenient, but we’ll manage and get it done, and it will be great once we’ve got through that moving process to actually be in the new facility,” Quick said.

Quick said he is excited about the move and feels “very fortunate” to be able to forge ahead with the plan to relocate to a permanent home in spite of the sour financial climate. But for a business that continues to thrive, moving out of the cramped digs was necessary.

“There is no more room for any type of growth (at our current location),” Quick said. “It’s a planning ahead for future growth. And we’ve got some things in the future that we’re hoping to fill (the new space) up quickly.”

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