When Advantage Direct GM John Montcastle, Jr. was looking to bolster his company’s print capabilities, he set out to find a vendor that could help cover every aspect of its business. Among the key tenets he sought were quality equipment, superior customer service, and innovative and forward-thinking solutions.

When the exhaustive search ended, the Arden, North Carolina printer not only landed a vendor that fit the bill, it also found a partner it could lean on in a time when partnerships matter most.

“Our relationship with Fujifilm is a mutual partnership,” John says.

Building these types of partnerships are what enable Advantage Direct to offer its customers the best resources the industry has to offer. The small, second-generation family commercial printer remains committed to serving a variety of regional and national businesses, branding agencies, schools, colleges and universities, and nonprofits. It also is building momentum in the warehousing space.

Part of its appeal to its customers is that when you give the Advantage Direct team a deadline, they hit the mark. Specialists in turnaround and quality, they continue to cement their legacy as one of North Carolina’s premier printers.

“Service, support and quality,” John Jr. says. “These rank high on our list of requirements for a reliable vendor. Fujifilm continues to impress us with its equipment, support and creative solutions, which in turn is shared with our customers.”

As a family-owned business, Advantage Direct has built on building long-term relationships with its customers. Driven by its family and industry roots, the printer continues to make the investments it needs in equipment, exceptional team members and the community.

That is what made its relationship with Fujifilm so critical. John Jr. says that Fujifilm’s equipment, support and consumables enable it optimal up time in production, something its customers lean on Advantage Direct for.

“We are driven by serving our customers and assuring quality control through our G7 Master facility,” John Jr. says. “Whether it’s a catalog with a special die-cut or a large vinyl graphic display for a showroom, we are committed to providing printing and signage solutions.”

Advantage Direct operates a 3/4 size press with a maximum sheet size of 23.5” x 31”, Fujifilm’s XMF, Dart and an Acuity Select series flatbed printer. The print team started with a roll-fed machine and upgraded to the flatbed about four years ago. It recently converted to XMF and ZD.

Fujifilm’s XMF print workflow solution integrates the latest Adobe technology APPE (Adobe PDF Print Engine) and JDF compliant, providing intelligent automation, flow and color control, flexibility and improved communication. The Superia ZD processless plate portfolio enables the Advantage Direct team to print UV ink conditions and provide improved run length in non-UV ink environments.

“XMF workflow has given us a central hub, enabling us to streamline production and color management,” John Jr. says. “In addition, XMF Remote allows our customers instantaneous file upload and soft proof, thus improving our prepress efficiencies. And the ZD Plate allows us to eliminate chemistry in the plate processing process.”

40 years and on…

Advantage Direct, a second-generation printer, was started as a quick print franchise in 1981 by John Montcastle, Sr., and his wife, Judy. As a franchise, the Montcastles quickly grew, inviting them to explore innovative and exciting areas of growth.

In 1992, the company became Advantage Printing Inc., maintaining its location in downtown Asheville. As their business expanded, they continued to grow with the times.

Today, the Montcastles, including John, Jr., continue to invest, expand and grow with the marketplace’s ever demanding needs. For example, Advantage Direct recently added a number of new positions, including a digital production manager and director of sales.

In 2021, Advantage Direct will turn 40, a milestone in today’s ever-changing commercial print landscape. “With support of the family, we have been given the latitude to invest in equipment, exceptional team members and the community,” John Jr. says. “It is fun, organized chaos that keeps on growing. By working with vendors like Fujifilm, we are able to keep the communications lines open and our eye on the future.”