What started out as a traditional letterpress, hot metal handset type business in 1970 based out of a 1,000-sq.-ft. shop in a strip mall, has evolved to become one of Southern California’s leading commercial printing and marketing solution providers. Crown Connect in San Bernardino, Calif., attributes its success to moving right along with its customers’ needs over the years, making investments in new equipment and expanding into a single, 37,000-sq.-ft. location.
On December 5, 2016, Denny Shorett, Crown Connect’s president, decided to change the 36-employee company’s name from Crown Printers to Crown Connect, adding a tagline “more than a printer.” According to Shorett, 74, rebranding had been a long time coming and came with the desire to help clients better target their messages and mine their data.
Denny Shorett, president, stands outside of Crown Connect’s 37,000-sq.-ft. facility in San Bernardino, Calif. Shorett says the company’s new name better reflects the additional services and marketing solutions it provides clients.
“We felt our name implied that we were just a printer and it didn’t really represent the more progressive services we are offering, such as mailing, graphic design and data management, as well as our storefront online ordering and fulfillment services,” he says. “Our new name better represents what we’ve become and the diversified services that our team of professionals provides to customers in Southern California and beyond.”
Shorett adds that it took close to 90 days to change the company’s brand entirely — both internally and externally. While printing still remains the core of the firm’s business, Shorett attests that Crown does a lot of strategizing and consultation with customers about their marketing plans. “We are a one-stop location for a lot of different needs for our clientele, which has been a saving grace for us,” he points out.
According to Shorett, the company’s new name has been well-received. “In fact, one long-time customer told me that the new name better reflects what the company has become over the years … more than just a printer,” he notes.
Today, Crown Connect specializes in litho, digital and wide-format digital printing, as well as packaging, direct mail printing and graphic design. Some of the key vertical markets that it serves include healthcare, education, insurance, and non-profit fundraising. Most of Crown Connect’s clients are in the San Bernardino area but the company does have customers located throughout the U.S
In the pressroom, the company operates a six-color Komori Lithrone (GL640C) press, a Heidelberg Printmaster QM 46, a Halm Jet Press, a Xerox iGen 150 digital press, a Ricoh Pro C9100 digital press, a Xanté digital envelope press and a HP Scitex FB500 industrial printer.
Today, Crown Connect is really a family affair. Tom Shorett, Denny’s brother, serves as VP of sales, and both share in ownership of the corporation. Denny Shorett’s son and daughter are also employed at Crown Connect, along with a couple of other relatives who work in different capacities.
As a 43-year member of Printing Industries Association of Southern California (PIASC), Shorett continues to serve on its board of directors for over 20 years and served as chairman of the board in 2002. He was also named PIASC’s Benjamin Franklin Executive of the Year Award winner in 2008 and was recently inducted into the Printing Industries of America Ben Franklin Honor Society in November of 2016.
“I think the best thing about our industry is the amazing and wonderful people we meet and associate with in the course of doing business. I’ve met people who are customers, associates and employees alike, who have become lifetime friends,” relays Shorett. “It’s also been rewarding and fulfilling to have left significant printed materials and keepsakes behind for generations to come. An indelible history.”
Denny Shorett says that Crown Connect’s rebranding has been a long-time coming and that both employees and customers have reported positive feedback.
Moving forward, Shorett adds that in addition to expanding Crown Connect’s digital capabilities, one of the next steps at Crown Connect will be to improve its social network presence. Shorett also adds that he has no plans to retire anytime soon.
“California is a big print market and has a pretty robust economy, but it’s also a very competitive market. We tried to set ourselves apart from the marketplace by being a boutique printer,” concludes Shorett. “At Crown Connect, we have the capabilities of the large companies that we compete with but we don’t have the horsepower that some of those larger printing companies have. Our environment and culture is more hands-on, and is very much service oriented — we have a direct connection from the top directly to our customers.”