As it races to churn out truckloads of signs for the bike race next week, a local printing company is also keeping its eye on the beach.
Downtown-based Bizport this month expanded into the Outer Banks with a plan to target the coastal area’s real estate industry and seasonal and permanent small businesses.
Operating as Bizport OBX, the company has leased a 2,200-square-foot office in Kitty Hawk and recruited Cori Davies, a veteran of the business scene there, to lead the branch. It opened for business along Mile Post 9 last week.
The new outpost adds to Bizport’s Richmond and Hampton Roads locations. And while its niche in those markets has historically been printing architectural plans and batches of documents for law firms, the company is making some adjustments to win business in the Outer Banks.
“The model down there is going to be different,” said CEO Glenn Childress, who has led Bizport since 2012 and grew up in Nags Head.
The company sees an opening in that market to focus more on its color and wide-format printing and is adding a list of services that amount to an in-house marketing agency.
It will heavily target real estate companies, many of which cater to the sale and rental of vacation homes.
“Every house on the Outer Banks has its own sign,” Childress said.
It will also sell packages to small businesses to help create marketing plans and then produce print and online materials for that brand.
That’s where Davies comes in.
The 35-year-old Dare County resident joins Bizport after years in marketing at Kitty Hawk Kites and two of the larger vacation rental companies on the Outer Banks, Sun Realty and Resort Realty.
She and Childress know each other from college, and she’ll give Bizport an important foothold with the locals.
“The Outer Banks is kind of a close-knit business community,” Davies said.
Davies said that while the Outer Banks economy has seasonal fluctuations, there are still plenty of businesses to target year-round. She estimates that there are a few thousand businesses to go after.
“Some of my targeting will be around seasonal business, but a lot will be locals who just live and work here every day,” she said.
For now, Bizport will print much of its Outer Banks orders at its Virginia Beach shop, which it opened in 2005. It will eventually consider expanding its print capacity at the new office, Childress said.
He said one other big factor could play into Bizport’s favor at the beach: Mother Nature. Sun, salt and sand tend to do a number on objects that sit perpetually outdoors near the shore – signs included.
“The weather is our friend,” he said.
Bizport is also eyeing further expansion into North Carolina. Childress said the company is currently considering acquisitions in the Raleigh market.
Bizport isn’t the only local print shop on the move. Keith Fabry is relocating from its longtime home on East Cary Street to a larger building near Manchester.