Is there a profitable future for small and medium-sized printers?

Paper Express Shoppe owner Victor Barsoum in his Mississauga warehouse.
Paper Express Shoppe owner Victor Barsoum in his Mississauga warehouse.

 Here’s how The Paper Express Shoppe is making sure the answer remains “Yes”

There’s no question that the print industry has changed in recent years, and printing customer demands are still changing. Tighter print marketing budgets, a push towards paperless billing and paperless transactions, and the incessant need for personalized print material to compete with digital marketing, are all driving the print customer to demand lower costs and, ironically, shorter runs. The days of jobs in millions or even the hundreds of thousands of impressions are likely over for all but a few printers. At the same time, operating costs are increasing and paper costs have clearly been on an upward trend since 2011, with two price increases announced by most domestic and international mills in 2018 so far, with potentially another price increase to come. Overall, these demands from the consumer and operating challenges have driven the printing industry to consolidate significant volume with larger printers, in addition to the emergence of prominent trade printers. 

So will this spell the end for profitable small- and medium-sized printers?

The Paper Express Shoppe, a small independent paper distributor based in Mississauga, Ontario, believes the answer is definitely no. “There’ll always be room for the high-service and highly personalized touch that comes with working with a smaller printer,” said Victor Barsoum, current owner of The Paper Express Shoppe. “Even while I was in the process of acquiring the business earlier last year, I met with a number of highly successful printers that are running small operations of between one to four employees, and the formula for their success is service, expertise and specialization,” he added.

As the new owner of Paper Express Shoppe, Barsoum is committed to not only extend what has made Paper Express so successful since 1995, but he’s also determined to help his core customers of small- and medium-sized printers remain highly successful and above all, profitable.

The University of Toronto Master of Industrial Engineering graduate comes from the retail world. As a retail executive and experienced buyer of printed advertising and marketing material, he understands the pressures that printers are facing, having recently been in their customers’ seat. “One thing that I also discovered from the retail world is the importance of forming strategic partnerships between vendors and buyers. Success comes when we stop talking at each other across the table, and sit next to each other to figure out how we both can flourish,” he pointed out.

Commitment to help printers succeed

Since taking over last July, Barsoum has the following key service commitments to help his customers succeed:

Satisfaction Guarantee  The Paper Express Shoppe stands by every single product it sells, whether it’s an exclusive item, or an in-store cut sheet. If customers are not 100% satisfied, they’re welcome to bring it back for a refund or exchange. The Paper Express Shoppe will even reimburse for wasted print impressions in the case of defective products.

No charge cutting  Printers can take advantage of buying larger sheets and cutting them to size to save on costs. Paper express never charges for cutting.

No minimum orders  Short print runs are a reality that Paper Express Shoppe understands well. Printers are welcome to buy only what they need – down to a ream of a specialty colour, weight or textured paper. 

All the merchants at a discount  The Paper Express Shoppe has formed strategic partnerships with most large national paper merchants to offer their entire product lines (most items are available the next day) to smaller printers. The combined volume of purchases enables the Paper Express Shoppe to buy at discounts – which are passed on to its customers.

Huge selection  The Paper Express Shoppe stocks a full assortment of coated and uncoated paper, colours, textures, carbonless, labels, envelops, as well as inks and other printing products. 

For more information please visit or call Victor Barsoum at (905) 795-2435.