Monday, April 26, 2010

We're Killing Trees....But Not the Forest

I would like to say that the title is true. At least I thought it was true when I started researching this article. Did you know that between the years 2000 to 2005, the U.S. lost a bigger percentage of its forest coverage than Brazil?  Sure Brazil lost more acreage but the U.S. lost almost 6% of its forest acreage during that time period.  Most of the lost acreage, believe it or not was in the southeast part of the country, and not the northwest where most people believe that the loss would occur. For more information on this phenomenon, go to . However, in some countries as much as 80% of the timber is harvested illegally, often involving the violation of human rights and destruction of protected forests. A key factor behind the threats faced by natural forests is the perception by many societies that they lack economic value. The extraordinary social and environmental value of forests in comparison to other land uses is often not considered. In other words, forests are often converted to other land uses which lack many of the social and environmental values of forest but promise higher economic returns. You can read more about FSC at their website at

So Why Does AlphaGraphics Believe That It Is Saving The Forests?

Just recently AlphaGraphics Mesa on Baseline Road in Arizona received its FSC Chain of Custody Certification. You can review this short video to see what this means in the printing industry.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. This organization was formed for the express purpose of controlling the demise of forests around the world. Not only do they control the cutting of the old large trees, but they control the use of chemicals that may harm wildlife in those forests. The goal of the organization is sustainability.  The perfect environment is that as more and more timber is removed from the forest, it is naturally replaced and that over a long period of time, there will be just as much timber and coverage in that forest as when lumber operations commenced.  In addition, the natural wildlife of that forest will not be disturbed.

So how does AlphaGraphics fit into all of this.  The FSC certification assures that there are procedures in place so that wood that is removed from an FSC controlled forest is identified, tagged and followed all the way to the end user.  So our responsibility is to assure that when a customer requests that a project is printed on FSC certified paper, that we buy the paper from an approved source (Xpedx Paper in our case), that we control the paper when it is in our possession and that we notate on our invoice that the printed product is printed on FSC paper with our Chain of Custody number prominently displayed. 

The FSC label provides a credible link between responsible production and consumption of forest products, enabling consumers and businesses to make purchasing decisions that benefit people and the environment as well as providing ongoing business value.

There are three types of FSC Chain of Custody logos that our customers can put on their products.  The most common is FSC Mixed Sources. This assures that the paper used in the printed product is made out of paper from a managed forest, combined with recycled material.  The second is the 100% recycled logo, which is self explanatory and the third is Pure, which means that the paper product contains 100% new paper from a managed forest.
At this point, of my three centers, only AlphaGraphics Mesa on Baseline is able to print the FSC logo on printed products.  What this means is that our customers at AlphaGraphics Tempe on Elliot and AlphaGraphics Phoenix - Northwest Valley will have their jobs invoiced out of my Mesa operation to assure the proper chain of custody.
For those who might want to know more about FSC, here is a 20 minute video from their website showing the benefits of FSC.  It is quite moving.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

We Lost...But Really We Won

At the Mesa Chamber of Commerce's Annual Luncheon, AlphaGraphics Mesa was one of the finalist for Mid-Sized Business of the Year. We did not win. Yes, I was nervous, yes I was disappointed, yes I was a little angry for a little bit.  However, as I thought about the whole experience, I believe that when we consider the entire event, we were a winner.  Let me explain.

I have spent a considerable amount of time and effort over the last few months promoting my business with SEO efforts.  I have worked on optimizing my website with the right keyword presentation, I have started a blog, I am doing press releases online so that they are picked up by Google, I am writing online articles with, we are distributing a monthly email newsletters, we have done a couple of 3-dimensional mailing pieces to select customers and prospects and I continue to look at other opportunities to promote my business outside of the internet, such as sponsorships and networking.

So how does the Mesa Chamber experience fit into all of this? 

Well, a few months ago, I was asked by a staff person at the Chamber to "self-nominate" myself because they had not received enough nominations from the business community.  After a little thought, I did. I then learned that I was one of two finalists in the Mid-Sized category.  This was my start of a big SEO effort. I updated my status on Facebook and Twitter several times that we had been nominated. I wrote about it on my blog. (I guess this post qualifies also). I issued a couple of press releases, one with, and one with Grassroots PR.  I was interviewed by a reporter with the Arizona Republic, which was published online and in print.

I received a few benefits also. 

My new picture that I am now using in my social media efforts was donated by a Chamber member (Steve Nissle).  The Chamber did a great video on my business. I will be receiving a copy of this video which I am going to upload to YouTube and embed it into my next blog, our AlphaGraphics websites, our Google Maps site and where ever else I can put it. I have been trying to figure out how to put a video on my websites for quite some time.  Google loves videos when evaluating the rankings of a website.

In addition to the SEO activities associated with this nomination, I received some RLO (Real Life Optimization) benefits. Even though the nomination had been made public by various means, most people did not know of the nomination until the event.  I had many businesses in the area congratulate me on the nomination and comment about how well I must be doing to be nominated (I do not bring up the fact that it was a self-nomination). I had a lot of people say they wish I had won for one reason or another and our new video was played to a room full of Mesa businesses.  What can be better than that?

So here come the sour grapes. 

The difference between winning and losing was that I did not receive a framed picture of my building (which I already have). I guess I will not be able to wear the tiara, to go to grocery store grand openings or to work for world peace, but I will survive. Instead of having more material for another press release on this nomination, I will work on a press release about our new FSC Certification.

I want to thank the staff of the Mesa Chamber for allowing me to be a part of the process and I sincerely want to congratulate Invision Auto Body for winning the category. Maybe we will try again in a few years.

You can always contact us at the following websites:

AlphaGraphics Mesa on Baseline - Printing and Marketing
AlphaGraphics Tempe on Elliot - Printing and Marketing
AlphaGraphics Phoenix - Northwest Valley - Printing and Marketing

Follow me on twitter: @steveadams291

Friday, April 9, 2010

AlphaGraphics Mesa is a Finalist for Mid-Sized Business of the Year

I'm usually not one to toot my own horn, but I thought you might be interested in a press release I just published on

For Immediate Release-April 11, 2010-Mesa, AZ--Stephen Adams, owner of AlphaGraphics Mesa on Baseline Road announced today that they have been notified that they were selected as one of the two finalists to be recognized as Mesa's Mid-Sized Business of the Year. The other finalist is Invision Auto Body in Mesa. The winner of this category will be announced and recognized at the Mesa Chamber of Commerce Annual Luncheon this Tuesday, April 13th.

"We could not be prouder of this recognition by the Mesa Chamber." stated Stephen. "I have watched over the years as many deserving companies received this recognition and have secretly aspired to becoming recognized to stand among the former recipients. Our category is going to be tough to win. Invision Auto Body is a great Mesa company and a contributor to the community."

Other finalists in the other categories include SCF Arizona and the Hilton Phoenix East /Mesa in the Large-Sized Business category and FastFrame and Express Employment Professionals in the Small-Sized category. The event is being held at the Hilton Phoenix/East Valley and tickets are still available by calling the Mesa Chamber at 480-969-1307.

Some of the factors used by the evaluation committee in making their selections included service and involvement in the community, staff retention and employment practices, commitment to quality services and participation in Mesa Chamber activities.

AlphaGraphics Mesa started 20 years ago in a Downtown Mesa location near the current Mesa Arts Center. In 2000, that location was moved to the Southern and Country Club area and then in December, 2005, they moved into their newly constructed building at 535 W. Baseline Rd., in Mesa.

Stephen has been very active in the community serving as President of the Downtown Mesa Association (formerly the Mesa Town Center), President of the Mesa Rotary Club, Chairman of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce and he currently serves on the Mesa United Way Board of Directors. "We believe that it is important for all businesses to contribute to the community, both financially and with volunteerism." said Stephen.

Stephen Adams also owns two other AlphaGraphics franchises. His second center is located in Tempe near Kyrene and Elliot and his third center is located in west Phoenix near the Black Canyon Highway and Northern Avenue.

AlphaGraphics franchises that are owned by Stephen Eugene Adams can be reached at the following websites:

AlphaGraphics Mesa Printing and Marketing
AlphaGraphics Tempe Printing and Marketing
AlphaGraphics Phoenix Printing and Marketing