Excellence in the Rockies

By Danielle Jerschefske | 16 Nov 2015

Columbine Label has grown consistently in the last five years, earning four respected industry management excellence awards.
Columbine Label Company, a small label manufacturer located in Centennial, Colorado, with annual sales around 5 million USD, reached a turning point five years ago. Greg Jackson, Columbine Label president, refers to 2010 as the ‘watershed year’ and attributes the company’s ability to definitively surpass 3 million USD in sales to the culmination of many factors.

In early 2008, Columbine Label enlisted a marketing and branding firm to help it investigate and understand what precisely its brand promise was. The converter established an online presence and developed a strategy focused on SEO techniques.

Says Jackson, ‘We had put down the ground work in capturing new business before the major economic situation, and in 2010 we grew 30 percent.’

Jackson purchased Columbine Label at the age of 38 in 1999. To make the deal happen, the seller carried most of the note over a period and Jackson borrowed money from his family. He beams with pride, saying, ‘It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.’

By 2010 he could pay both parties back early, making the company debt-free and the right time to invest in technology that would carve out bigger margins in manufacturing labels.

Most of the converter’s work is extremely short runs and smaller books of business. No one account controls more than eleven percent of sales. The converter was using mechanical conventional presses to produce 7-800 SKU jobs with 40-50 POs at 1,000 labels each. It was hard to drive profitability with plate costs and cumbersome changeover requirements.

Jackson explains, ‘Bringing in digital from an efficiency standpoint balanced out the pressroom. We were able to get rid of the spikes and time killers that we had not budgeted for and gained capacity with appropriate business on our conventional machines.’

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