The University has outsourced its print shops to AlphaGraphics, a private printing company, after losing money and failing to restructure.
Vice President for Administration and Finance Rosi Keller said UM Printing and Graphics, which included Campus Quick Copy in the University Center, was no longer self-sustaining.
In an email last April, then-director of Printing and Graphics Ken Price said, “With University of Montana budgets declining for many years, and printing being one of the targeted items for cost savings, the print shop is not immune from these budget challenges.”
UM Procurement Manager Bob Hlynosky said the University receives five percent of gross sales as part of its agreement with AlphaGraphics.
The University transitioned to AlphaGraphics over the summer, and Printing and Graphics officially shut down on July 1. The Missoula Independent reported it was 82 years old this year.
“The technology has changed so significantly that there isn’t the same kind of demand for printing and graphics,” Keller said. She said office printers could now do many of the tasks print shops used to do.
Two literature magazines published by UM students, Camas and The Oval, worked with Printing and Graphics. Staff from each publication said in emails they’re not sure how the switch to AlphaGraphics will affect the magazines until they print their next issue.
As part of the University, Printing and Graphics could only do business on campus, Keller said.
“[Printing and Graphics’] customer base was like this,” Keller said, holding her hands up, her palms an inch apart. “AlphaGraphics’ customer base is the entire public.”
AlphaGraphics is a printing and marketing franchise headquartered in Salt Lake City, with locations in five countries, including more than 250 in the United States, according to its website.
AlphaGraphics in Missoula is a 53-year-old, locally owned company. The business was founded under a different name and joined the AlphaGraphics franchise in 2011, according to Mike Peissig, owner and president of AlphaGraphics in Missoula.
Peissig said the business pays royalties to the AlphaGraphics franchise in return for consultations and employee training. AlphaGraphics makes business decisions independently, he said.
AlphaGraphics negotiated a three-year contract with UM, which could be extended to as many as seven years, Peissig said. The agreement included taking over Campus Quick Copy in the UC, which is now AlphaGraphics Quick Copy.
Peissig said AlphaGraphics offered jobs to all six Printing and Graphics employees, two of which accepted the offer, while two took jobs elsewhere in the University and two retired.
Printing and Graphics is not the only University service to privatize this year. The UM Bookstore contracted with private bookseller Barnes & Noble College to manage the store after struggling with falling sales.