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Direct mail business grows and brings clients with it
by Jessica Garcia
Jan 29, 2009 | 1067 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<a href=>Tribune/Debra Reid</a> - The National Enquirer is prepped for shipment by JLH employee Araceli Maldanado early Thursday.
Tribune/Debra Reid - The National Enquirer is prepped for shipment by JLH employee Araceli Maldanado early Thursday.
Chris Fleiner knows he is swimming against the current in a slumping economic river, but he is making his way upstream and keeping his Sparks business more than just afloat.

Fleiner, the president of JLH Mail, is enjoying the advantage of expanding his direct mailing, fulfillment and inventory management business.

He is taking his work to a national level while other local companies are calling it quits with layoffs and closures.

“In this day and age, in this economy, you know, to see the company wanting to expand, it’s a different feeling,” Fleiner said.

JLH of Sparks recently announced a merger with Complemar, Inc., a company based in Rochester, N.Y., that specializes in packaging, fulfillment and distribution. It was the network parent company for JLH and was seeking a central location on the West Coast. Following recommendations from other companies in the industry, Complemar tapped into JLH.

Fleiner, who purchased the business from its original owner three years ago, said the new contract will improve the local JLH’s ability to distribute nationally and to increase its clientele as a “conduit” for warehouse distribution and direct mail services.

“I had no plans to do a merger or acquisition merger, but when (Complemar) came to see us, they laid out their growth plans and they fell in line with our plans, so we started talking seriously about making the deal happen,” Fleiner said.

The merger closed the Friday before Thanksgiving last year.

“The great part about this entire merger is, as far as everybody locally thinks of us, we’re still JLH,” Fleiner said. “We’re not changing our core values, not changing the way we do business.”

With the partnership in Rochester, JLH can now reach about 75 percent of its distribution population with next-day service, Fleiner said. It has opened possibilities for the company to grow outside the northern Nevada market.

Direct mail and fulfillment are key services for businesses during challenging times, Fleiner said. They are becoming tools through which clients, which range from mom-and-pop businesses to corporations and even some Fortune 1000 organizations, can reassess their marketing and advertising needs.

In an effort to save their bottom line, businesses have adopted a more efficient mailing strategy.

“There’s not so much a declining demand, but by looking at mailing programs and mailing smarter, they’re going to on-demand,” Fleiner said. “They would print 12 months (of advertising) at a time, but basically they’re now on a month-to-month, need-to-need basis. We see a huge growth in our fulfillment area because of the fact that people want to outsource and stabilize their costs.”

As a marketing support service, Fleiner said, JLH gives business owners the opportunity to focus on their own goals and bottom line. Surprisingly, however, many new clients are coming to Fleiner for outsourcing.

“First of all, it’s targeted,” he said.”Secondly, I think print – like newspaper – radio and TV are very important for brand imaging, but when budgets are tight, people are looking to use their dollars wisely. … This is the time to look at those types of needs. Every company has a slow time in their fiscal calendar and people should be looking at better processes.”

JLH is also providing help to non-profit organizations, which Fleiner often advises to rethink their donation tactics.

“You see more of them ramping up to raise money,” he said. “They are acquisition campaigns as opposed to going to the same old well over and over again. They realize they’re only reaching a small percentage of the market.”

So, for example, he tells non-profits to consider seeking more donations in smaller amounts, perhaps $10 or $25, as opposed to fewer contributions at larger amounts, like $1,000.

“When you look at an economy like this, it makes you and your company a lot different – it makes you work smarter and harder,” he said.

Fleiner said the expansion goals of JLH and Complemar solidify the Sparks business’ future.

“No matter what the situation is, you have to look at it optimistically,” he said. “If you don’t, you’re never going to make it. If it’s always doom and gloom, you’re never going to be successful. Bottom line: Doom and gloom does not pay and there’s a lot of it out there if you listen to enough of it.”
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