14 April 2019 Business

Grafenia takes first step into the untapped US market

The UK print and communications franchise group is heading west, bagging its first US deals.

Grafenia has signed up its first US franchise which will trade as Nettl of the The Palm Beaches as part of business support organisation The Back Office LLC.

This is a company that has spread across the US providing accountancy, HR, consultancy and other business support services to local SME operations. Print buying and design have been part of this offer, says Grafenia CEO Peter Gunning.

Nettl will expand this into other forms of marketing and communication. “With the addition of Nettl of The Palm Beaches, we complete the menu to our clients. We’ve added services that directly impact the front end of their business with marketing, advertising, website and application development, printing, large format products, displays, exhibits, advertising specialty items and more,” says David Winters, present of The Back Office.

The success comes only a few weeks after Grafenia staged its first Expoganza in the US, chasing to do so in Florida. A second franchise has now been signed up, says Gunning.

He points out that both federal laws and state laws define how rapidly franchises can be signed. There is a statutory period between expressing interest and completing the legalities while registration with authorities is also essential in some states, which is time consuming, he explains. Currently Grafenia is going through this process and is able to operate in 40 states.

The potential franchisee receives a 200pp document and then must think on it before signing up for a five-year deal 16 days later.

Nevertheless Gunning is optimistic that Nettl with its combination of fabric displays, web design and channel agnostic marketing, becomes an attractive bolt on to an established business brand. The US is the largest single market in the world. Grafenia already has more than 200 Nettl outlets in other countries including New Zealand and Australia.

“We are hoping that this is the start of a pipeline for Nettls in America,” says Gunning.

The Back Office will be able to offer its customers the menu of Nettl services, not only print, but also SEO advice and website hosting. “It gives them more to offer so can strengthen their client relationships,” he says. “That’s why he has signed up.”

Others will be driven by the sorts of pressures that have established Nettl elsewhere. “The price pressure is not as great in the US, but there is still an understanding of the need to diversify. Being able to offer the fabric display range is a good way for them to win new clients.”

Grafenia plans to show this off at the start of next month at the How Design Live event in Chicago.

Back in the UK, the company has commissioned its H-UV equipped long perfecting Komori GL840. The company’s SP40 will be leaving the Manchester factory this week, paving the way for construction of mezzanine areas in preparation ahead of moving the Image Group with its large format inkjet presses and finishing technology into the main unit.

By Gareth Ward

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Grafenia in Florida

Grafenia in Florida

Grafenia has signed its first deals in the US following an event in Florida to show off what its Nettl bolt on franchises can offer print and related businesses.

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