Branding Businesses with Digital Printing
Janet Smaltz admits to being the “J” behind AJ Graphics, a full service shop located in Garden City, KS. Her husband, Andrew, is the “A.” However, as Janet notes with a smile, “the A is silent.”
Smaltz started out running someone else’s embroidery company in her garage. She soon opened her own custom garment business and, in 2014, acquired a local graphics company, adding digital printing to her repertoire.
AJ Graphics, now located downtown on Main Street, provides a range of branding and marketing services that includes customized apparel, signage vehicle graphics and more. Smaltz bought the graphics company’s Roland (Booth 1137) SOLJET printer and 64-inch CAMM-1 cutter, and she’s been a Roland user ever since.
“I really liked the quality of the Roland prints, and as someone who was new to the printing industry, I appreciated the high level of service and support the company provided,” Smaltz says. “When I needed another printer, Roland was my first choice.”
Smaltz recently added Roland’s TrueVIS VG-540 54-inch printer/cutter to her production platform. “We’re impressed by the speed and quality of the TrueVIS. The colors are very clear and bright,” she says.
The printers and cutter run every day to help AJ Graphics produce graphics for farm and industrial implement dealers, as well as manufacturing firms, municipal service providers, restaurants, nonprofits, dairies and other local businesses.
Smaltz has three employees, including a full-time graphic designer and an installer who also designs vehicle graphics, to help her manage all aspects of production in the 3,500-sqft shop.
“We hit the jackpot with this building,” Smaltz says. Not only is their downtown location easy to find, but the former warehouse easily accommodates the vehicles and equipment they wrap.
AJ Graphics specializes in vehicle graphics for fleets of trailers and tractors, along with truck, van and car graphics. They also use their Roland equipment to produce posters, measurement strips, date of service and other industrial decals, banners, canvas pictures, wayfinding signage and wall graphics.
As the go-to shop for many of the farm implement and equipment dealers in the area, AJ Graphics gets a lot of referrals. When a dealer sells a truck or a tractor, the new owner is often looking for decals, window perf or wrap graphics. In many cases, Smaltz noted, these customers also have additional vehicles that need branding.
One recent job challenged the Smaltz team to find the correct material for a serious test of durability. A farm feed company wanted to feature its logo on an enormous feed bucket designed to sit outdoors in the pens with the cattle. “They wanted the logo to be big enough so that people could see it driving by,” says Smaltz. “We managed to find the right media to use, and the graphics we printed have been really durable.”
AJ Graphics also has expertise in designing, producing and installing graphics to help restore antique farm equipment. “We do a lot of research to ensure that the graphics we design are historically accurate,” Smaltz says.
AJ Graphics is continuing to expand its product offerings to include promotional products such as cut vinyl glass stenciling. “We keep looking for new ways to help our clients. We want to be known as the branding company for businesses in and around Garden City,” Smaltz says. “With our Roland equipment, we’re reaching our goals.”