This category covers establishments primarily engaged in reproducing text, drawings, plans, maps, or other copy by blueprinting, photocopying, mimeographing, or other methods of duplication other than printing or microfilming. Establishments primarily engaged in printing are classified under SIC 2752: Commercial Printing, Lithographic; SIC 2754: Commercial Printing, Gravure; and SIC 2759: Commercial Printing, Not Elsewhere Classified. Those companies engaged in providing microfilming services are classified under SIC 7389: Business Services, Not Elsewhere Classified.
Other Business Service Centers (including Copy Shops)
The quick-printing industry represents a relatively new dimension of both the commercial printing and graphic arts industries. Most companies in the photocopying industry began as printers offering while-you-wait service dubbed "quick printing." What began as a small segment of the printing market experienced phenomenal growth beginning in the 1970s, changing the printing industry forever. In 1969, 1,000 quick printers were operating in the United States, and by 1974 that number had reached 6,000. From 1975 to 1992, the quick-printing industry exploded, and an estimated 30,000 businesses were operational by the early 1990s.
The number of quick-printing establishments was dwindling in the late 1990s, due to consolidation in the industry. There were 5,780 establishments in 1997. By the early 2000s, however, consolidation had leveled off, with 5,852 quick-printing establishments existing in 2002. The volume of shipments in the quick-printing industry was on the rise, however, reaching 6.4 billion in 2002. Sales in the industry had increased at an annual rate of 10.6 percent since 1994.
The quick-printing industry generally provides two types of services: convenience and commercial. With storefront locations in strip malls and downtown shopping districts, the convenience quick printer serves the needs of small businesses and consumers. Convenience quick printers include both independent and franchised operations that rely largely on copiers and paper plates on 11" x 17" presses. The commercial printer typically provides services similar to those of the convenience shop, with larger facilities and several added capabilities for serving the needs of larger businesses.
The quick-printing industry emerged from the development of the Itek camera/platemaker, acquired in the early 1960s by Bill Le Vine, a commercial printer. This machine produced black ink on 8" x 11" paper with photocopiers or electrostatic plates, forming images in powdered or liquid ink directly on the surface to be printed.
In the 1970s, quick printing generally produced black-and-white or one-color offset prints on flat surfaces using photomechanical plates or paper mats. By the end of the decade, however, the industry was augmented by the introduction of high-speed copiers, which produced one-color prints.
By the 1980s, many quick printers were able to offer a variety of paper sizes and two- and four-color copies. Furthermore, high-speed copiers became more common in the industry, as did large document copiers. During this time, copier technology advanced, and some quick printers offered desktop publishing systems, camera and darkroom facilities, and advanced bindery equipment. The 1990s were dominated by the growing adoption of digital technology, new products and services, Web pages and publishing, and transmission of data to the quick printer electronically. Regardless of a business' development, continued growth and perhaps survival are dependent on adaptation to and adoption of digital imaging and electronic communication.
The historic paths to becoming a giant in the industry were to open multiple small sites and build volume, open a facilities management site within a large corporation, or migrate steadily from quick printing only to graphic arts services.
Some of the challenges to the industry have been the cost of paper, which seems to have stabilized; keeping up with technology; and the increasing demands for shorter turnaround time. Printing and copying is divided into four major areas: multicolor copying (26 percent), copying (25 percent), black and white (17 percent), and rapidly growing digital printing (6 percent).
Toner-based copying dramatically changed the nature of quick printing, especially for high-volume work. High-speed copying, able to produce quality halftones and two-sided copies, set the standards for the quick-printing industry. Wide format or folio printing has also continued to grow with close to 200,000 printing devices installed 1996.
To strengthen the scope of their service, quick-print shops began to expand into areas outside of copying and printing. For example, according to a 1990 National Association of Quick Printers (NAQP) member survey, 81 percent of its membership provided fax services and 53 percent offered desktop publishing. Some shops even rented computers and sold office supplies. Although not the source of major profits, such diversifications offered customers value-added service.
Many quick-print shops tested the market for color copying and further automation in desktop publishing. By 1992, more than 60 percent of NAQP's...