Company's niche is IT and custom printing

Avanzado, a data-management and digital printing company, expects to create about 30 million promotional postcards and other mailed items this year — and every piece will be unique.

The Farmington Hills company has found its niche offering clients, including auto companies, information technology and custom printing. The postcards can be personalized with customers’ names — and photos, for example, of the type of car or pet they own.

In April, Avanzado was recognized by the U.S. Postal Service for helping to create and pioneer a process that allows companies to put corporate logos and images on commercial mailers, called a picture permit imprint indicia.

Last year, the company said, its annual revenues grew about 17% to $6.5 million, and it is on track to repeat that this year. The company has four Xerox digital printers that run 24 hours a day, 5 days a week.

To keep pace with demand, the company recently hired two employees, bringing its total number to 37.

Craig Frye, the company’s president and one of its owners, said inspiration for the custom indicia struck him in 2010 at a postal trade show in Nashville. He had seen custom stamps and wondered whether this could be done with commercial mail.

Frye said the company worked with one of its customers, Chrysler, to create indicia for the Jeep and Mopar brands.

“It was exciting because it had never been done,” Frye said.

Avanzado, a Spanish word that means advanced or progressive, reflects the Mexican-American heritage of the company’s Chairman Leo Padilla, Frye said.

The name also was chosen to project an image of a forward-thinking company that offers clients designers and online database software to create and target personalized mail — and send e-mail.

Promotional mail that the company printed for Invisible Fence, a company that makes products for dog owners, included a customer’s name, pet’s name — and a photo of the type of dog. Each postcard also offered a discount based on the size of the customer’s dog, too.

Frye said he began envisioning Avanzado in 2003, when he was working for MSX — which was doing some custom printing — but planning to get out of that business.

Initially, Frye said he proposed to buy the department the company planned to shed. However, he could not reach a deal, and instead, started the new company.

The first three years, the company focused on creating the business model and online technology to support the custom printing business. In the last few years, it has added clients.

The next step, Frye said, is for his company to offer services that would send promotions via text messages to cell phones.

“Our challenge,” Frye said, “is getting to as many people as we can to grow the business.”

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