Dunedin Print

Doing things differently is business as usual

  • Dunedin Print

    Dunedin Print's superhero team.

Dunedin Print is an institution in the city; it’s been operating from its Vogel Street location since the early 1930s.

In 1983, Evan Hopkins bought the business, and son Dale joined his father in 1992. When Evan retired in 2011, Dale, along with wife Sandra, bought the business, continuing the Hopkins family ownership.

Over the years, the company has expanded, growing from six to nineteen staff, offering offset and digital printing, graphic design services, customer support and a full commercial bindery. In the two years Dale has owned Dunedin Print, he has witnessed the ebb and flow of business.

“2013 was an interesting year. The first half was very quiet and unpredictable. But the third quarter was the busiest we’ve had in the last five years. It’s a fickle business,” he says.

Although Dunedin Print does a lot of graphic design and printing for digital communications, Dale is seeing a strong trend towards physical mail, printing on paper as it used to be.

“Email can often suffer from visibility issues – your communication getting lost in SPAM or amongst the hundreds of emails you might get every week. There will always be a need for print. The advantage of print material is that it sits around and doesn’t vapourise into cyberspace.

“The printing industry is very interesting, with lots of technical advancements happening each year. It’s expensive to keep up with the technology, but it’s what you need to do to stay competitive. The next generation is very technically savvy, but hard copy print is still required. We see the print and digital worlds co-existing.”

Dale confesses the company does things “a bit differently”, with a staff of 19 individuals who are encouraged to express their creativity. The video the company made to celebrate its 30 year anniversary and the retirement of one of its long-standing staff is testament to that. Shot in super-hero style cartoon style, it shows a quirky side to Dale and his team.

For Dunedin Print, competition for printing services comes from many avenues; online, overseas companies offering cheap printing services.

“There will always be competition from these types of businesses, and they will always capture a portion of the market. But it doesn’t faze us – we base our business on building relationships with our customers. And that is borne out by the fact that more than 80 percent of our work comes from repeat customers. Our competitive advantage is being local, and servicing our customers on a personal basis. It results in loyalty,” explains Dale.

Markhams Clarke Craw is a long-standing customer of Dunedin Print, who has been doing the accountancy firm’s printing work for years.

The relationship between the two companies dates back more than 50 years, with Evan Hopkins using Markhams Clarke Craw his entire business life. Dale has continued that relationship, working with director David Russell.

“It’s been a long association, that’s for sure,” says Dale. “David was instrumental in helping us through the handover of the business from my father to me, and helps us with all the financial aspects of the business as well as regularly providing advice. He is great to deal with, and gets back to you quick smart.”

Dunedin Print’s balance sheet is quirky – the financial year runs from 1 November to 31 October. “It was something Dad introduced so he could get all his financials done before Christmas and would dictate what sort of holiday he would have!” laughs Dale.


YouTube video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5dPPE1797g

Published Autumn 2014.

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