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Dave Olson, Published March 08 2013

West Fargo firm enters commercial printing fray with heavy hardware

WEST FARGO - Northwest Professional Color, a printing company that has been doing business in West Fargo for 42 years, is thinking big.

Big, as in the company just purchased a new 10-foot-wide printer, a high-resolution colossus of a machine company officials say is the first of its kind in North Dakota.

“You have to go to the Cities to find another like it,” said Susan Rau, CEO of the company that her father, Arden Glanzer, started in the family home in 1970 as a resource for professional photographers.

NPC moved to its present location at 214 12th St. NW, West Fargo, in 1976.

Additional space and improvements were made to the business in 2008.

About six years ago, the company started fargoPIX.com to provide photo printing services for people submitting images online.

More recently, NPC started a commercial division – NorthWest Visual – which will be the primary beneficiary of the new printer and associated machinery.

All told, the hardware set the company back about $750,000, said Chad Nannenga, business development director for the company. The outlay will enhance NorthWest Visual’s ability to create products such as:

• Life-size cutouts.

• Large, wall-filling banners.

• Acrylic/Plexiglas prints.

• Exposition and trade show items, including collapsible podiums.

NorthWest Visual produces a variety of other promotional products, including caps, cups, mugs and pens, Nannenga said.

NPC’s new printer can print on glass, wood, or pretty much any hard surface up to 2 inches thick.

Print jobs can be 10 feet wide, with almost no limit on length.

The company’s list of printable items was impressive before the arrival of the large printer – everything from floor mats and tiles to personalized wallpaper – and the new machine expands the possibilities, Nannenga said.

“There’s little we can’t print out anymore,” he said.

Creating with digital images is a major part of what NPC and its divisions do these days.

But it wasn’t long ago that film photography dominated the business. The difficulties and challenges of making the transition to digital are still fresh in the minds of some, including Glanzer, who said several area companies that hesitated to make the changeover are no longer around.

Glanzer said he is grateful he has his daughter and Nannenga around to help the company, which now has about 35 employees, in navigating the digital age.

“I look at these two and say, 'I’m sure glad I’ve got help.’ It just boggles my mind,” he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555