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Acquiring a Better Future

Graphic Village | Cincinnati, Ohio

As the largest independent print marketing solutions provider in the Cincinnati region, Graphic Village offers services from offset printing to digital printing, packaging to apparel, branding to strategy and beyond. Executive Chairman Eric Kahn built Graphic Village into the printing powerhouse it is today over seven years and 13 acquisitions.

Through this series of acquisitions, Graphic Village expanded from 32 employees to 200. “I often go through different M&A ideas and scenarios with my Banker to get his opinion and help on how to finance them,” Eric shares. “We’ve always had a great relationship.”

When Graphic Village wanted to purchase a 154,000 square-foot building in the northern Cincinnati suburb of Blue Ash, Ohio, Eric turned to Commerce Bank with interest in a Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 funding solution. “The building came on 35 acres and when we started to get deeper into the process, the SBA had issues with the size of the parcel and the utilization of the land,” Eric explains. “Commerce Bank was instrumental in helping us decide how to divide up the land, so we were able to finance the entire project under one umbrella.”

This process took much restructuring and finessing, but the Commerce Bank team soon had all the pieces of the puzzle together. “Because of our relationship, we were able to have constant communication with Graphic Village and bounce ideas off of each other until we crafted the structure that ultimately worked for the SBA, Graphic Village and Commerce Bank,” says Aric Hassel, Senior Vice President.

The reason behind Graphic Village’s purchase and desire for an SBA 504 funding solution was an important one. “We wanted to create a spectacular environment for our employees,” Eric shares. “We wanted them to come to work excited and walk through the door refreshed and rejuvenated for a new day at work.” The SBA 504 funding solution gave Graphic Village the ability to build a state-of-the-art facility that stands out from its peers in Cincinnati.

After being assisted by his banker on a number of acquisitions that resulted in significant company growth, Eric has advice for business owners at a similar crossroads. “Focus on long term relationships and knowing your partner well,” he remarks. “Spend time getting to know several layers throughout the organization. It's important to have that broad relationship with your bank and communicate with them so they understand what's going on in your business.”

This strong relationship paid off during the COVID-19 crisis. “Commerce Bank has been very accessible,” Eric relates. “Anytime we need something, they’ll talk to us about it. Commerce Bank makes it as quick and seamless as possible.”

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