Regions Northern Virginia

Free Lance Star starts printing division

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When the going gets tough, the tough expand and diversify. Such is the case with the Free Lance-Star Publishing Co., owner of the Free-Lance Star, a daily newspaper based in Fredericksburg.  At a time when many other publications are facing declining revenue, the privately owned company recently launched a division called Print Innovators, which will operate a 92,000-square-foot printing plant.

The new plant, built by Winchester-based construction firm Howard Shockey & Sons Inc., replaces the Free Lance-Star’s longtime production facility in downtown Fredericksburg.

In addition to handling printing for the Free Lance-Star, Print Innovators will also offer high-speed printing services to a niche market that includes other publications and commercial customers within a 600-mile radius of Fredericksburg. Its first outside customer is the Washington Examiner, a six-day-a-week newspaper in the Washington, D.C., area.

John Jenkins, operations director of Print Innovators, says that the new plant is among the fastest and most automated printing presses in North America, with the ability to produce 90,000 pages every hour. “Literally, based on the amount of pages that we can print and the amount of color that we can do at one time, there are maybe two other presses that I know of that are comparable,” he says.

The printing division also will produce glossy brochures and other promotional products for customers, including the Free Lance-Star, which previously had to outsource its high-end advertising inserts to other printers.

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