Printing in the black

Detroit-based Wintor-Swan Associates presses ahead

Wintor-Swan Associates Inc., a $25 million Detroit-based printer whose clientele include Kmart, National Geographic and the Big Three automakers, Ford, Daimler-Chrysler and General Motors, was recently purchased by Motown banker Elbert Clark. Clark now becomes CEO of the largest African American-owned printing company in the nation.

“I’ve wanted to do something in the manufacturing field for a long time,” says Clark, 51, who has more than 27 years of commercial banking and investment experience. He last worked as managing director of the Detroit Investment Fund, which invests in small and medium-size Detroit companies.

Clark says he first became interested in purchasing Wintor-Swan in 1996. Financing for the project eventually came from Nation’s Credit Commercial Funding Division of New York, with the assistance of Arcadia BIDCO Corp. of Kalamazoo, Michigan. David Grende, Nation’s managing director, says the deal was approved because they were attracted to Wintor-Swan’s overall business plans. The banks were impressed that the printer had a proven track record with customers such as the Big Three.

Beginning operations in 1971, today the large scale printer has more than 300 clients and completes more than 1,500 jobs annually. Their printing assignments range from the National Geographic Atlas to, most recently, 4.2 million magazine inserts for a new General Motors vehicle.

Clark says his priorities include raising sales at the company back to 1994 levels of $35 million. Sales at the company dipped to $25 million in 1997. Clark’s new initiatives include

an aggressive marketing campaign and outreach to new customers.

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