Out of print Featured

6:48am EDT June 28, 2002
Step into a Verizon Wireless store and you'll see posters, window stickers, countertop displays and packaging bearing colorful photos and graphics designed to catch your eye.

Verizon doesn't print those -- it's in the wireless phone business. Westlake-based Shamrock Cos. Inc. takes care of that.

But Shamrock doesn't only design and print marketing materials. Its CEO, Robert Troop, has found in the 31 years he's been in the printing business that you have to diversify if you want to keep growing.

"I'm a good listener," Troop says. "The greatest source of information of how you develop your company comes from the client and your employees."

When Troop purchased Shamrock in 1989, office PC software and laser printers were rapidly destroying the need for its business form printing services. Troop responded by adding products like brochures and magazines, trade show display panels and consumer market packaging.

"I wanted to keep selling the business forms, but we needed to expand on that," Troop says.

To reflect the shift, Troop changed the company name in 1991 from Shamrock Forms Inc. to Shamrock Graphics Inc. Meanwhile, he acquired a small graphic services company to reinforce the change in strategic direction. That division was incorporated separately under the name Shamrock Creative Services Inc.

In 1997, Troop launched Popular Products Midwest Corp., a specialty advertising company that prints company logos on pens, coffee mugs, apparel and customer gifts and promotions.

"We wanted to eliminate multiple vendors for our large accounts and become a one-stop shop," Troop says. "That way we could create more programs for them at a higher level and really bring value to the table."

On top of the printing services, Shamrock warehouses and distributes its clients' marketing materials or promotional gifts. Although seemingly unrelated to its core printing and design services, warehousing and order fulfillment are in high demand.

"That is our single largest area of growth," Troop says. "There's a greater sense of urgency for us, so we do a better job at it than if was outsourced."

Troop combined the three divisions in 2000 under the name The Shamrock Cos. Inc. Sales have increased more than 200 percent in the last five years and Troop's added 22 employees in the last three years for a total of 103. How to reach: The Shamrock Cos. Inc., (440) 899-9510