One of the nation’s top print shops, AlphaGraphics Camelback is moving into an all-new, custom-built printing facility on the SW corner of 24th Street and Campbell Avenue following a decade-long search to find the perfect building site in the heart of the Camelback Corridor. Founded in 1981 and still operated by Larry Furlong, AlphaGraphics Camelback is the fifth-highest volume location out of 270 AlphaGraphics nationwide. Defying predictions that the digital revolution would lessen the need for print shops, AlphaGraphics Camelback has grown to more than 35 full time employees and often runs its printing press 24 hours a day. Which is why this locally-owned printshop is now constructing a new 12,000 sq. ft., state-of-the-art, and eco-friendly, printing facility, scheduled to open in mid-2023.
Housed on the site of a former gas station at 24th street and Campbell Avenue, just a half-mile from the existing location at 2120 E. Camelback Road, AlphaGraphics Camelback worked with LGE Design Build to craft a bespoke printing facility that will serve the neighborhood and beyond for the next three decades. Besides expanding the previous footprint by 2,000 sq. ft., the stylish, contemporary design features a soaring double-sided glass atrium entry. Stepping into the high-tech printing bay, the sleek, grey concrete block walls are broken up with peak-through window walls to showcase the bustling print floor (running 24/7 during peak times), and new, larger digital equipment that we couldn’t fit at the old location.
“Because technology changes so quickly, we will be retiring a lot of our printers and taking advantage of our first-ever facility designed for the digital age from the ground up,” Furlong says. Furthermore, as part of AlphaGraphics Camelback commitment to eco-friendly practices, including using 90% FSC certified paper from sustainably managed forests, the lumber used in the new building will also be FSC certified.
“After three decades in central Phoenix, we had outgrown our existing location, which pre-dated the digital printing revolution and was originally designed in the 1960s as an appliance store, so it was always an awkward fit for a print shop,” Furlong says. “But we were determined to stay in the Camelback Corridor, which meant competing with national chains for some of the most expensive real estate in the state.” Eventually, Furlong honed in on a former gas station that had sat empty since 1994, “because potential buyers had to pay for an extensive, and non-refundable, $150,000 environmental study, before they could get approval to build, or even secure a loan,” Furlong says. “We rolled the dice, did the due diligence, and thankfully received the okay to build our new printing facility.”
Launched in 1981 AlphaGraphics Camelback was one of the first franchisees of this famed printing company originally founded in Tucson in 1970. A Tucson native, Larry Furlong first fell in love with printing during freshman year in high school, when he signed up for class at the school’s print shop. After seeing a note that the AlphaGraphics near campus was seeking students for afterschool jobs, he started working part time, and then transferred to the company’s new location in downtown Phoenix the day after graduation. Working his way up to manager right around the time AlphaGraphics started franchising, Furlong launched his own franchise on October 10 1981.
Currently employing 35 full-time staffers, AlphaGraphics Camelback will be looking to expand prior to opening in the new space. Offering full graphic design services, full color digital printing and traditional offset printing, large format graphic signs and wall murals, and mailing services, AlphaGraphics Camelback also creates custom web-to-print solutions for large clients.
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