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‘Just too tough’: Western Graphics shuts down

Friday, 24 November 2017
By Graham Osborne

Western Graphics at Fairfield, Sydney

Sydney printer Ken Buckland is closing the doors of his award-winning Western Graphics offset and digital business after almost 40 years and retiring.

‘A great weight has been lifted’: Ken Buckland, owner/director, Western Graphics

“This year just got so hard, so competitive, and there was not enough money in the industry anymore to survive,” says Buckland. “I was waking up in the middle of the night wondering how I was going to make ends meet. Now, I feel like a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m also getting a bit old and need to retire and just enjoy the rest of my life.”

Western Graphics, based at Fairfield in Sydney’s west, specialised in upmarket 4 colour brochure work and presentation folders. Buckland says he would have needed to increase his prices by 20% just to survive. 

“There’s no money in it anymore. As the cake gets smaller, everyone’s grabbing at it. It was just too tough and too demanding. The margins have gotten so slim and other printers were destroying our price. Customers expect a good price and a good job and they want it tomorrow, but some of them don’t pay for 120 days.”

The industry veteran is looking forward to a comfortable retirement.

“I owned the property as well and the two units are worth a lot of money now. I’m expecting about $1.7 million for the land so I’ll be able to retire quite comfortably thanks to the real estate market but not the printing industry.”

Two remaining staff members – down from a previous high of 18 – are expected to be laid off next week.

Buckland has sold off most of his smaller equipment through word-of-mouth. Offset and digital machines up for sale include: three multi-colour Heidelberg presses – a 5 colour Speedmaster, a MO 4 colour, and a 4 colour GTO – a Konica Bizhub, a Muller stitcher with crash folder unit, guillotines, die cutting, folding and other equipment.

Western Graphics, a family owned commercial print business, was established in Sydney in 1979.

 

 

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3 Responses to “‘Just too tough’: Western Graphics shuts down”

  1. November 24, 2017 at 4:04 pm,

    said:

    Why wouldn’t you keep the customer, outsource and make more money?

  2. November 27, 2017 at 10:42 am,

    Comrade Dave
    said:

    Maybe he ran out of time and energy Knuckles.

    Over the yrs you read about how you have to change to survive, its like the latest saying “grow big or get out”. Easier said than done.
    Not only that growing big may be not the answer you think it is.
    Sometimes being smaller and nimbler might be the way.

  3. November 29, 2017 at 2:02 pm,

    LMC
    said:

    Ken has been an amazing supplier to me for years. He will be irreplacable especially by the big boys who are buying out some of my best suppliers. Ken I will miss you greatly and no I will not be giving my work to a supplier whereby my work is not looked after the way my small trusted suppliers do.
    All the best Ken I will miss you.

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