Printing shops ink merger deal

Fergusson's Allegra has acquired another local company. Photos by Jonathan Spiers.

John Fergusson’s Allegra Design, Print, Mail has acquired another local company. Photos by Jonathan Spiers.

A merger-minded printing franchise has made its second acquisition in about as many years.

Allegra Design, Print, Mail has purchased local competitor Printing Services Inc. in a deal that will see Allegra move into Printing Services’ larger facility at 4109 Jacque St.

Allegra’s 10 employees will move from the company’s current location at 2100 Maywill St., just a few blocks away, to join Printing Services’ 16 employees in early 2016.

Franchise owner John Fergusson said he was in the market for potential acquisitions when he learned Printing Services President Shane Kisner was looking to sell.

Fergusson said the opportunity presented itself, and the deal just fit.

“He’s in a similar market to ours, but we do a few things different,” he said. “I thought it was a good opportunity to purchase him and get some capabilities I didn’t have, and also to sell his clients things that they weren’t getting from him.”

Allegra will move its staff over to the larger Printing Services building

Allegra will move its staff over to the larger Printing Services building

A message left for Kisner on Tuesday was forwarded to Fergusson.

Fergusson said Printing Services will bring some finishing capabilities that his company doesn’t have, such as hot stamping, the ability to make folders in-house and several bindery capabilities. He said Printing Services has been in Richmond since 1978.

Allegra, which has been in Richmond since 1991, specializes in direct marketing products. Its services include direct mail, signs and displays, commercial printing and web marketing.

A national franchise company, Allegra has eight franchises in Virginia and nearly 200 across the country, according to the Allegra Network website. Fergusson purchased the Richmond franchise in 2012.

He said clients have included the University of Richmond, VCU, St. Christopher’s School and St. Catherine’s School, as well as a number of nonprofits.

“When folks like St. Christopher’s need to put out direct mail to its alumni for fundraising appeals, we’re the ones that do it,” he said.

In deciding on a headquarters for the combined companies, Fergusson said he needed more space for the additional staff than was available in Allegra’s Maywill Street office.

“We have about 7,000 square feet here at 2100 Maywill, and I can’t fit 26 employees into this building, so we have to move,” Fergusson said.

The Printing Services space is nearly triple that at 19,000 square feet.

The acquisition is Allegra’s second in the past two years. In 2013, it acquired the 5-year-old Display, Designs & Signs.

While his acquisition goal has again been realized, Fergusson said he remains in the market for more deals.

“We’ll continue to look for acquisitions,” he said.

Allegra isn’t the only printing shop making moves in recent months. Downtown company Keith Fabry recently moved to an 18,500-square-foot building near Manchester. Bizport, headquartered on North Third Street, recently expanded into the Outer Banks and is considering acquisitions elsewhere in North Carolina.

Editor’s note: This story has been revised to reflect Allegra’s status as a franchise of a national company.

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Bruce Anderson
Bruce Anderson

Congratulations on the acquisition. As consolidation continues, it’s good to see the printing business is still percolating here in Richmond.