Creative Labels of Vermont, also known as CLOV, is a family-owned printing firm located in Winooski, Vermont. It was started in 1983 with three employees, one three-color press, and a handmade screwdriver rewinder. In nearly 40 years, CLOV has grown to over 30 employees with a diverse equipment portfolio that includes an HP Indigo 6600 Digital Press, six flexographic presses, inspection rewind equipment, and state-of-the-art prepress software.
Currently, CLOV prints pressure-sensitive labels for the specialty food and beverage markets. However, the company’s niche is printing for the “artisans of the world” – as Dwane Wall, President of CLOV, puts it – who want to create high-quality food and beverage products for their clients. When CLOV needed to modernize its operations, Anderson & Vreeland answered the call and revived a long-term partnership with its extensive equipment portfolio and personalized support.
The History of CLOV
When Fred Wall, the founder, applied for a job as a “plate maker”, he assumed he would be dealing with ceramic dinnerware. Little did he know he was entering the world of printing and packaging and would run his own printing business years later. In 1983, Mr. Fred Wall was approached by a friend to purchase Creative Labels of Vermont, which was solely a label company at that time. As he took over, he decided to leverage his experience in the printing industry and expand CLOV’s capabilities. Investing in the necessary equipment, he worked with his son Dwane Wall, who joined in 1985, to turn it into the leading printing company it is today.
Although the team at CLOV partnered with Anderson & Vreeland in the early stages, the partnership saw a brief pause. It wasn’t until an A&V sales representative reached out to CLOV with advice on how to transition into digital platemaking that the partnership renewed. “Back in the day, we wanted to get into some entry-level digital stuff. So when the A&V sales guy contacted me, it was perfect timing. An idea there, a helpful hint here, and a conversation later led us back to what I believe has become an amazing partnership to this day,” explained Mr. Wall.
A Partner in CLOV’s Success
CLOV was looking to automate its processes and streamline production to serve its customers better. When Mr. Wall explained his pain points and his goals during a meeting with the A&V sales team, they immediately came right back with a solution. He said, “It was almost instant. Everybody raised their hand and said, ‘We have the products that we believe will get you in that direction.’ And then we worked out a plan.”
At this time, CLOV had a ThermoFlexX Digital Imager – which he refers to as the “red machine” – but needed compatible prepress software that would unlock its full potential. So A&V’s first step was to equip CLOV with HYBRID Software, an industry-leading software provider that continues to be one of Mr. Wall’s favorite investments to this day. “HYBRID is so great because it works well with native PDF. It just does absolutely everything, in my opinion, better than the product that I had before. It’s faster, more consistent, more reliable, and aligned with my vision for the company, which is to automate as much of the stuff as humanly possible so that my amazing humans could do stuff that humans are great at.”
To help CLOV improve its operations, A&V offered CLOV early access to some of the most innovative printing technologies. For example, CLOV was one of the first two beta sites to work with the nyloflex Xpress Thermal Processor as part of Flint Group’s (now XSYS) pilot program. It was also one of the first companies that worked with A&V’s Exposure Unit when it first launched. Dwane Wall explained that he didn’t even need to test the machine out; he had full faith in the quality of the product. “,em>I didn’t need to see it. I didn’t need to test it. I didn’t need to figure out whether it was going to be a good machine or not. I had a need for it, and I just knew it would bring a lot of value to my workflow.”
All this new equipment has helped Creative Labels of Vermont enhance its processes and production. Today, CLOV has a robust workflow that seamlessly integrates its prepress capabilities with its pressroom and allows them to go through 50 to 70 jobs a day with hundreds of SKUs. “We are going through two times the volume in the same amount of time. We couldn’t have achieved this without all the automation that’s in place between all the components,” said Mr. Wall. “I closed the loop on the conventional platemaking side of things, fully transitioning to digital platemaking with the help of A&V. Between its world-class product portfolio and the stuff they’re able to manufacture, the team at A&V has been amazing. Plus, creative financing options, such as the Section 179 tax incentives, have greatly improved our bottom line.”
President of CLOV, Dwane Wall, attributes his success mainly to Anderson & Vreeland’s hands-on support. He explains, “It’s not magic. It all works in the end due to the support I received from the technology experts. They bring you the whole solution. It’s not just ‘Here’s a machine, good luck.’ With A&V, it’s ‘Here’s the machine. Here’s the workflow. Here are some helpful products and useful knowledge.’ A&V did a great job building the infrastructure of its organization around the heart of helping the customer – which is me – be successful.”
The Future of CLOV and A&V
Creative Labels of Vermont’s goal today is to continue streamlining its processes to provide its customers with the best label experience. “Thanks to A&V, we have all the pieces in place to incrementally improve,” said Dwane Wall. “We are excited to continue working with the A&V team and having them as a resource.” A&V Account Manager Robert Feyre also remarked, “Creative Labels of Vermont has been a great ambassador for A&V. The team over there is great and we are looking forward to where this partnership will take us in the future.“