In 1984 Peter Schmidt owned the local Hertz rent a car franchise for Champaign, Willard Airport and Danville. Rental customers for Hertz were from all over the country and world with very few from the local area. A resident of Champaign-Urbana since 1965, Peter’s father Kurt was the manager of Lincoln Square shopping center and his mother, Barbara, was an active volunteer throughout the community. Peter has local roots and wanted to be able to be more involved in the Champaign Urbana area.
March of 1987 UpClose had its start when Peter purchased a typing service and Western Union agency on the University of Illinois campus.
1987 to 1990
The typing service operated out of several locations and each had a copy machine. Each store had their own name, Clean Machine, Quick Copy and Quick Print with the Western Union service. When the stores were purchased Peter created a new company, UpClose Graphics, Inc. Named after the street he grew up on in his native Rhodesia.
Peter learned several things these first three years. Multiple store names and numerous locations were confusing. Staff, mainly part time students, were not properly trained. Store managers only dealt with problems. Typing sales, from IBM electrics accounted for 60% of total sales. This did not bode well for the upcoming computer era. Sales efforts were random and not targeted. A plan was needed quickly, before dwindling sales and cash flow led to the failure of yet another of America's small businesses.
Stores were consolidated from six to two. Names were changed to UpClose Copies for the Campus market and UpClose Printing for the Champaign Urbana market. A shift was made from part time staff to full time staff. In depth product training was initiated. Organizational charts and job descriptions were revised for clear and fluid managerial and operational control. The overriding focus for any decision was shifted to customer satisfaction.
The product mix was carefully reviewed. Surveys and comment cards were sent to customers, productivity standards and capacities were reviewed for where to target sales growth. A database was created of existing customers and prospects for direct mail and phone follow ups. Continual reviews of financial statements and cash flows were made to monitor progress.
1991 to 2000
Customer needs dictated that additional equipment and products were needed. Customers wanted to be able to deal with one company for their design, copying, printing and mailing needs.
Printing equipment was added to enable a shift from black and white copies to color printing. Multi-color, high quality presses were added to allow for higher quality multi-color and 4 color process printing.
The Design and graphics department was expanded by adding Apple computers and high quality laser printers to better support design and print needs.
Color copiers were added to fulfill customer needs for quick, short run color copies. High speed black and white copiers handled the need for larger copying.
Finishing and bindery equipment was added for more productive and quicker turnaround for any print or copy job that needed comb or perfect bound books, cutting, folding’ booklets, perforations, numbering, shrink wrapping and more.
Mailing services were added to assist customers with their mailing and direct mail needs along with dealing with the multitude of regulations from the US Post Office.
Web site was added. Fax machines were used for proofs sent to customers. The quality was poor so file transfer protocol (FTP site) and e-mail capabilities were added for customers to send files more easily and communicate with their Service Representatives. Upgraded network capabilities, job pricing, and job tracking software were added to respond to customer needs more quickly
2001 to 2008
120 West White street location was purchased and there was now 1 location for all UpClose staff and equipment.
Computer to Plate for the printing process was added for efficiency and to create a better quality product with greater productivity.
2009 to 2010
Sign, poster, and banner equipment was added to take advantage of the need for larger print needs.
2011 to present
The final printed product began to have more options available. Computer files came from a variety of soft-wares and file types. UpClose felt customers need more than an order taker for their jobs..
UpClose Marketing and Printing became the new name. Customers need a consulting team to help with their marketing and printed image needs. Service representatives with knowledge in design, print and copy production and distribution from shipping to mailing were needed.
The slogan and mission statement was adapted to more accurately reflect the focus that UpClose Marketing and Printing put on the entire print process for our customers.
Your image IS our business
Simplify the myriad of choices for your marketing, printing, copying, signage and mailing needs through superior customer service
Was and still is what UpClose continues to provide for our customers.