SCHENECTADY — Image360 Schenectady opened its doors Tuesday, offering Capital Region businesses an extensive array of printing and graphics services.
The franchise operation is located within The Daily Gazette Building and owned by the same shareholders who own the newspaper. It is a separate company, though it will be supported by the back-end departments of The Gazette, such as human resources and finance.
“If you need a sign, you should call me,” said Gary LaBelle, the former Daily Gazette advertising executive who is now general manager of Image360 Schenectady. “If you think it, we can do it.”
But it’s more than signs and more than marketing, company leaders said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday outside The Gazette building: Image360 can help its clients create an atmosphere.
Mike Marcantonio, president of Image360 parent Alliance Franchise Brands, said the concept is known in the industry as experiential graphic design — it seeks to shape an experience rather than influence a buying decision.
“You can put a graphic just about anywhere. We have a member that wraps MRI machines for kids at children’s hospitals ... You’re going to put a different image in the children’s wing than you are in the ICU.”
Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy spoke at Tuesday’s ceremony, and noted the longevity of The Daily Gazette, first published in 1894 and owned for five generations by the Hume family: “125 years, a significant milestone for this organization, for the city of Schenectady, for the region.”
He also noted the pressures facing local newspapers nationwide as digital media cuts into the print business.
The Gazette, he said, is rising to the challenge, one way it’s doing this is by evolving.
Gazette Publisher John DeAugustine, who also is president of the new Image360 franchise, said: ‘What’s it take to run a business for 125 years in the same community? It takes innovation. It takes commitment. Those are the things we have at The Daily Gazette.”
Few businesses touch as many people every day as the newspaper, he added, and the graphics business is a new way for it to do that. He added that the newspaper interacts with more than a thousand small and midsized businesses each quarter, each of them a potential client of Image360 Schenectady.
Marcantonio said: “This is the first time that we’re partnering with a newspaper to launch an Image360 under the same roof,” he said. “We’re humbled that this venerable organization chose us.”
Image360 Schenectady occupies about 3,000 square feet of the sprawling Gazette building at 2345 Maxon Road Extension, where some space is being leased to tenants. It joins a network of more than a hundred Image360 franchises nationwide, some with different capacities than the others. If a customer wants something that a particular location can’t do, it will enlist another location that can.
For in-house work, DeAugustine said, turnaround time is targeted at 48 hours.
The heart of the operation is a latex printer that can create a banner up to 150 feet long and 54 inches wide.
Through off-site training, on-site setup and extensive refit of the office and production space, LaBelle has been extensively involved in getting the new venture ready to launch. His Labrador retriever Jack, formerly an occasional visitor to the office, has become a friendly, steady presence as LaBelle put in extra hours preparing for Tuesday’s launch.
“He’s the brand ambassador,” LaBelle said.
“When he’s not trying to get food.”
Address: 2345 Maxon Road Ext., Schenectady, Suite 203
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, or by appointment
Email: [email protected]