Signage players in Rohtak, Bhiwani and Gohana cheerful with return of normalcy in business

Like many others in the industry, most of the signage players in Rohtak, Bhiwani and Gohana shut their shops at the onset of COVID-19 outbreak in India in March last year. But unlike many others, pandemic is no longer a threat to their business today. In conversations with Jyaneswar Laishram and Karan Kumar from Sign & Graphics, the cheerful signage players in these three cities of Haryana share about their works and return of normalcy in their business after months of total shutdown.


Perfection in printing

After completion of BTech, Suraj Hooda, Director, Colors Indesign, never attempted to grab a job in an engineering firm or something like that. He was impressed with the printing industry, which his father introduced to him. As a family-run business, they have a commercial printing setup equipped with an old single-colour Amada press and a Konica Minolta D652 digital press. As an extension of the mother company, Suraj unveiled Colors Indesign specifically designed for signage and graphic arts solutions.

The production setup of Colors Indesign is equipped with an HP DesignJet Z-5400. A team of eight which comprise two experienced graphic designers and three fabrication experts is the backbone of the setup. When asked about impact of COVID-19 shutdown, Suraj said it affected nearly 50 percent of the company’s overall business. “We were totally shut down for around three months. But none of the staff was neither laid off not cut their salaries,” he mentions.

He continues, “In mid-May we opened and everything started to come in normal way in the end of July month. Today, we are going business as it was. Our customers start opening their shops and we are now helping them to campaign for new beginning and recovery from the pandemic.” Key customers of Colors Indesign include Honda, Zara, Drishti Motors, to name a few, along with a horde of local shops and other companies.

Looking forward to UV technology

Being a complete signage solution provider, Jai Ambey Advertisers never stops upgrading its production facility with new and advanced machines. The latest arrival at the company’s newly opened production setup in the by-lane of Wakilon Wali Gali Rohtak is an EPSON SureColor-S80670. The setup is equipped with other machines such as Sky Color solvent printer and a Mehta laser engraving machine. “With the new EPSON SureColor system we are targeting to push our quality production potential to a new level,” says Anil Chhabra of Jai Ambey Advertisers.

Anil is now supported by his son Aditya Chhabra in the business. “The graphic arts market is in need of young mind like us,” chuckles Aditya. Talking about the market showdown due to the impact of pandemic outbreak in the beginning of 2020, Anil says that the worst time was just during the months of March and April in Rohtak. “Unlike the big cities and metros like Delhi and Mumbai, Rohtak never experienced mass infection of COVID-19. Even today, hardly 4-5 people are confirmed with the virus. That’s why business in the city started to gain momentum in May,” he says.

Jai Ambey Advertisers has been a sole partner of a host of ad agencies and design firms which are working for big corporate companies. The list includes Satpaul Art, Mohit Bharadwaj and others. Telling about the company’s new future, Anil says they have quite a few upgrades to be done in near future as part mission to take the company to another level. Of them, he mentions that their production setup will be installed with a new UV flatbed system with which they will venture into tile printing.

Old Player’s New Move

As the name suggests, Do Bhai Printing Press in Gohana is one of the oldest printing presses started by two brothers who passed on the company to their grandchildren. “Our establishment is dated back to 1980 when my grandfather with his brother started it barely with a Chandler press,” tells Sunny Bajaj adding that it was the time when every single activity was done manually. When it comes to the company’s updates of machines and technologies in its setup, a four-colour Heidelberg press was installed in the year 1999 and a digital large-format printing division was unveiled in 2010 with the installation of a Lotus printer.

Talking about the digital large-format printing division, Sunny says they are planning to upgrade it with some new machines soon. “Most of the signage and outdoor promotional projects we have taken up so far have come though advertising agencies from other cities such as Mumbai-based Plus Advertising,” he informs. When asked about a landmark outdoor campaign they have recently completed, he mentions JSW project which they executed across Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. The project included painting on walls in villages in the three states. Do Bhai Printing Press boasts of a team of 50, among which 20 are in-house and remaining 30 are on hire basis.

In his comment on the pandemic affecting the business of Do Bhai Printing Press, Sunny says that it was a shutter down from March to May last year. “However, bit by bit the market started to open by June. Today, I would say we are on the way to full recovery. More than 50 percent of the lost we had during the complete lockdown months has been recovered now,” he informs. Do Bhai Printing Press is known in Gohana and its surrounding areas for its specialty in production of fancy wedding cards, fancy wedding box cards, shagun envelops and such items.

An old bastion in new avatar

Established in 1989, Kathura Press is considered to be one of the well-established printing companies in Gohana. Late Ranbir Narwal started the company with a Chandler press. Today, his son Pardeep Narwal is taking care of the firm to the fullest. “My father was a painter, an artist, who painted portraits, posters and advertisement hoardings. I was just a young boy who saw his activities and impressed by the way he indulged in printing and painting activities to give final shapes to many creative printed and painted items. Since then I thought of entering into this industry,” recalls Pardeep.

When the region’s signage market opened up new business opportunity, Pardeep planned to expand the activities of Kathura Press into digital large-format printing. Then he opened a division for that with the adoption of a Wit-Color printer. “Though we are quite young and new in this segment, we have roped in a handful of valued customers over the last one year or so. Bajaj, Field King Tracker, Farm Tracker are some of our key customers,” mentions Pardeep, adding that they have worked for various outdoor signage campaigns for these companies.

When asked about the pandemic blow to their business, Pardeep confidently says Kathura Press never stopped working even during the peak lockdown months. “We are very much part of the league of corona warriors who fight against COVID-19 outbreak. In the lockdown months when many companies pulled their shutters down, we partnered with organisations like Gaw Sala in Gohana to carry out pandemic awareness public signage campaigns. We also engaged in production of face masks and other personal protection kits,” mentions Pardeep. Kathura Press has a team of 15 which include three graphic designers and three machine operators.

What it takes into creativity

All those gathered at the reception counter of Shri Graphics, one of the popular signage and graphic arts shops in Bhiwani, are regular customers of the company who trust in creative work and quality prints the PSP offers. Amit Kumar of Shri Graphics has been into the signage business for the last two and a half years. However, he has gained a reputation of Shri Graphics as a widely popular signage shop in the city. “Our list of customers consists of some schools, colleges, libraries and local business firms in Bhiwani. We feel quite enough to work for them. That’s why we are solely confined only in this city,” says Amit.

“Our customers are quite satisfied with the way we fulfil their demand and desire. It’s possible because we know what it takes into creativity. We have a team of 10 signage making professionals which consists of well-experienced graphic designers. Most of the e-rickshaw owners in the city come to us for all kinds of wrapping and promotional advertisements they use on their vehicles,” says Amit, adding that they have also partnered with many departmental shops in Bhiwani for shop front one-way vision graphics, facia and POS graphics.

The production facility of Shri Graphics is equipped with an Allwyn printer. The facility was shut down near about three months during the complete lockdown period. But when the market in Bhiwani started to open in May last year, all got into normalcy. “Today, we are doing business as it was. We hope the successful rounds of corona vaccination now going on, everything will be normal in big cities like Delhi and Mumbai too,” comments Amit.

Quality print corner

Thirty years ago Sanjay Mudgil was known as chitrakar (artist) who painted portraits, landscape posters, billboard advertisements at his shop Sanjay Arts. The same shop is still located on the Zhajjar Road in Rohtak. However, its activities have been changed from the old way of offering hand-painted graphic arts. Everything is now produced on a Colorjet IRISJET Pro printer. “Earlier we used some Chinese machines. Then we upgraded our facility with this Colorjet system four years ago. This is a wonderful machine for production of high quality prints for both indoor and outdoor applications,” mentions Sanjay.

Sanjay Arts has a team of 15 sign making professionals who can deliver complete solutions—from printing to fabrication and final installation. “The spirit of painting is still lurked inside me. If any one of our customers wants any hand-painted signage or display item, I do it with full enthusiasm. This makes us a complete corner in satisfying the need of our customers,” mentions Sanjay. Asian Paint is one of the long-term customers of Sanjay Arts.

Apart from a host of corporate companies, the client list of Sanjay Arts consists of a number of hospitals in Rohtak. “For the hospitals, we make a range of signage solutions. Be it way-finding systems, one-way vision displays and others,” mentions Sanjay, adding that they also work for some select customers based in Gurgaon and Delhi. Regarding the pandemic blow to the company’s business, he says that 50 percent of their business was hit during the peak lockdown period, but everything is alright now.

Strong in team spirit

Three years ago AV Graphics was known as a commercial printer producing leaflets, wedding cards, business cards and such items for local walk-in customers. After the company expanded its activities into digital large-format printing with the installation of a Wit-Color machine with KM 512i printhead, profiles of its customers altered and some corporate companies are now included in the clientele. “Raymond Suiting, Star Furniture, to name a few, are some of our key customers,” mentions Alok Gautam of AV Graphics.

There is a beautiful team spirit behind the success story of AV Graphics. In this respect, Alok says “We have a small team of staff. However, the understanding amongst us and responsibility everyone in the company takes is what it gives us the strength to accomplish any project at any given time and circumstances.” He continues, “Everyone in the company plays multiple roles. For example, Monu is graphic designer who can operate the machine too as per the requirement.”

About the impact of pandemic lockdown in business, Alok says that when coronavirus outbreak hit headlines and first lockdown was announced in March some of the company’s employees left Bhiwani and fled to their native villages. He adds, “Still we are waiting for them to come back and resume work. This was the main mayhem caused by the pandemic. Otherwise, the temporary slowdown in business has been recovered now.”

Complete solution provider

Janta Printing Press is indeed a complete printing solution provider as it offers all kinds of printing under its roof. The company has different divisions for offset printing, screen printing, digital printing and large-format printing. The portfolio of machines installed at the divisions comprises Kobi Dolvy 466 offset press, Konica Minolta bizhub C-258 and Wit-Color printer. “Our aim is to provide every requirement of our customers under our roof. We never let our customers run from one pillar to another for different print requirement,” mentions Satter Singh of Janta Printing Press.

Talking about the company’s large-format printing activity, Satter says that signage printing occupies nearly forty percent of their total business volume. “We are more into commercial printing, focusing on production of cards, calendars, bill-books, company brochures, etc. But a few years back when we noticed the vibrancy gaining in the signage graphics, we immediately decided to add digital large-format printing to our activities,” he mentions, adding that they produce nearly 3000 sq ft graphics every day.

Oppo, Vivo and many big brand companies are in the client list of Janta Printing Press. “We have carried out outdoor promotional campaigns of Oppo in and outside Gohana,” mentions Satter, adding that they reach out to clients based in Chandigarh, Ambala and Delhi. During the pandemic lockdown, some of the staff of Janta Printing Place resigned to flee to their villages in UP and Bihar. Because of that the company’s team of 18 staff has now reduced to 5. In this respect, Satter says they are now looking out for new recruits to fill up the gap.

Serving best for local customers

In just three years of its presence in the signage market of Rohtak, Shri Balaji Enterprises has been recognised vastly among local customers. This PSP is a brainchild of two brothers, Lekhraj Gupta and his younger brother Sumit Gupta a.k.a Koti, supported by three other staff. “We are just a small team working dedicatedly day and night to satisfy what all our customers need. Our customer list predominantly consists of local retail shops in Rohtak. Most of them are our repeat customers because we serve them at our best level,” says Lekhraj.

Before expanding into signage segment with the installation of Allwyn printer three years back, Shri Balaji Enterprises was just a photo framing shop. “We are still into photo framing business. Because of this our old image, we are known to most of the people as ‘photo frame’ maker in the city,” says Koti, adding that they produce backlit displays which are designed and decorated with premium signage frames.

During the pandemic lockdown, Shri Balaji Enterprises felt the pang of business slowdown. “Of course, we were no exception, like many others in the industry we were completely shut down in the months of first and second lockdowns. Somehow we coped with it and our staff stood by us throughout the unprecedented time of lockdown. We started to open shop in the last week of May. It was really hardship for us to recover the loss. By the grace of god everything is normal now,” shares Lekhraj.

Into a new avatar

Painter Rajinder Kumar with his younger brother Manish Kumar recently invested in a Wit-Color printer with Konica Minolta 512i printhead and opened a digital large-format printing facility on Meham Road in Gohana. “My brother knows the growth potential lurking in the signage market. This sector can be grown like anything with newer and innovative applications. Such prospects in this sector have inspired my brother to open a facility and invited me into the business,” tells Manish.

Manish is looking after Raj Painter. He had just passed out from college. A team of five staff, apart from his brother Rajinder and him, is the workforce at Raj Painter. The company is now working predominantly in contract with government departments such as Panchayat and others. “We also offer commercial printing for business cards, wedding cards and others,” says Manish. In addition, if any of their customers wish for hand-painted display items, then Rajinder is ready for that.

In his comment on the pandemic effect on their business in particular and the whole industry in general, Manish says that the lockdowns had terminated many of their initiatives. “We planned to initiate many projects which were terminated due to sudden impact of COVID-19 outbreak in the beginning of 2020 and imposition of lockdowns across the country. Things are getting normal in Gohana now. I hope we can soon switch to initiatives we had started in pre-pandemic time,” he mentions.

Choice for corporate companies

One of those PSPs which boast of working for corporate customers in Rohtak is DS Graphics. The company is a brainchild of brother duo—Vikram and Shyam Kumar. Incepted around three years back, DS Graphics has gained its reputation in the signage market of Rohtak sooner than expected. “In the first place, when we decided to run a signage printing firm, our objective was to serve some high-level customers. If they satisfy our service and products then we deserve to pay the price for our work,” says Shyam, adding that there are very few PSPs in Rohtak which work for corporate customers.

The corporate biggies for which DS Graphics has been providing prints, fabrication and installation service for projects in and around Rohtak include Exite Battery, Apollo Tyres, Bridgestone Tyres, Rapida Watch and others. The company has a team of 10 staff, among which 5 are on hire basis. The team directly goes to any location where final installations are required.

The production facility of DS Graphics is equipped with a MyJet printer with Konica Minolta (KM) 512i printhead. “We have a long way to go in future. That’s why we need to upgrade our production facility soon with some advanced machines including a laser engraver and a laminator,” mentions Shyam, conclusively saying that if there were no pandemic situation they would have done the upgrade last year itself.

On the road to full recovery

Incepted three years ago, Rainbow Graphics is one of the popular PSPs in Bhiwani. Young and enthusiastic Somesh Titani established this signage firm immediately after his graduation. When asked why he chose this sector, he chuckles, “This sector is suitable for young minds. I was a young mind who wished to play with creativity that would be displayed in public places like malls, roadsides, restaurants, airports.” Rainbow Graphics has a small production facility equipped with a Lotus printer with Konica Minolta 512i printhead.

As of now the company’s client list consists of a mixed bag of corporate and local customers. In the list are Amaze Battery, Aluminous and others. The company also has a host of local regular walk-in customers comprising shops, local organisations, political parties, etc. The customers are from Bhiwani and neighbouring towns and cities of Haryana and Pubjab. “We have a team of six staff to handle all kinds of projects right from printing up-to fabrication and final installation,” says Somesh.

Regarding the pain of pandemic slowdown, Somesh says the lockdown has really hit hard to their business. After three-month closure and drastic loss in business it has been difficult for them to recover in a matter of few months. “Now, we are into full swing of business, but it may take time to recover what all we lost during the lockdown period. We are now on the road to full recovery that we are expecting soon in the next few months,” says Somesh, adding that the pandemic in a way has taught them a lesson of survival in unprecedented time.

A source of printing media

An ideal printing material supplier is the need for every signage player. This is what Malhotra Graphics to every signage player in Bhiwani and other neighbouring areas. This media supplier is an authorised distributor of Satyam Plastics. “Our partnership with Satyam Plastics was started in 2018. We supply to more than 25 signage companies based in Bhiwani and other cities and towns including Dadri, Rajgarh, Tosham, etc,” says PK Malhotra of Malhotra Graphics.

Fine Flex, Jindal Flex and Star Flex are some popular brands which Malhotra Graphics supplies. According to PK Malhotra, Jindal Flex is the most demanded media among the PSPs in their client list. “There is one specific reason why Jindal Flex is top among all media supplied by us. It’s economical and durable,” points out PK Malhotra, adding that signage companies in small cities and towns need such media over any other premium one.

PK Malhotra shares that Malhotra Graphics was a PSP before engaging in printing. “It was from 2006 up to 2018; we did printing and worked for quite a number of good customers. But when we started supplying media it was tough to manage the printing and supply job simultaneously. That’s why we quit the printing job and fully engaged in distributorship of media from Satyam Plastics,” shares PK Malhotra. Malhotra Graphics supplies nearly 100 rolls a week these days.