In Profile: Hemlock Printers

Hemlock Printers Ltd. is a family run business that has been operating out of Burnaby, British Columbia for over forty years. They are a long time sponsor of GDC BC.

We met with Doug Climie, vice-president of sales and marketing, to discuss their role in the industry and to find out what’s happening at Hemlock.

Interview: Doug Climie

How long has Hemlock been a GDC Partner?

Hemlock has been a GDC partner for close to 20 years, and a platinum partner for over 10.  We have also valued the opportunity to play a lead role in the Jim Rimmer Scholarship Awards over the past few years which recognize design student excellence from across the many institutions here in Vancouver. We are committed to maintaining our high level of support to the GDC going forward.  

What sets you apart from the competition?

Hemlock’s combination of craftsmanship, innovation and sustainability has proven to be a key competitive advantage for us. Other things that set us apart include our dedicated and highly trained staff—80% of whom have worked here for 10 years or more, our ability to take on challenging work and achieve exceptional results, and our role as a consistent leader in corporate social responsibility—including paper purchasing and greenhouse gas emission reductions. All of these have combined to provide a compelling reason for customers to work with us, and return for future projects. 

How can Hemlock help GDC members?

Our ability to provide a high level of technical expertise and exceptional results—from prepress to press to finishing—helps GDC members to push the print design envelope. We also enjoy supporting GDC events, and host a number of our own to which we invite the membership, including practical training sessions (File Preparation for Offset & Digital Print) and social events (Print & A Pint) to facilitate meaningful conversations about optimizing design results and client satisfaction. 

How does the company measure success?

Like any private enterprise, metrics like revenue, profitability, market share, etc. are key elements to our measure of success in order to maintain our long term viability for customers, employees and all stakeholders.  But customer delight—by achieving consistently exceptional results and being easy and enjoyable to work with—and the customer loyalty that follows, are equally critical benchmarks for measuring what success looks like to us.

What is Hemlock’s proudest moment?

After over 45 years in the print business, it’s very difficult to identify a single proudest moment. Certainly growing FSC certified papers from 5% of our total volume in 2005 to almost 80% today has to be one. Opening up the US market 15 years ago to become a major contributor to our success is another. We are also consistently proud of the recognition we receive from customers, contemporaries, and the industry in general for the leadership position we take in terms of quality, integrity and sustainability.

What’s the latest thing at Hemlock?

There are two things actually—the installation of our XL UV press last summer, which has allowed us to produce an even broader scope of products with more choice in finishes—including gloss and reticulated strike-thrus, textures and the like. It also expanded the choice of substrates—heavier basis weights, plastics, metalized stock. This has been very exciting for our existing and new design customers. 

Secondly, our expanded warehouse services now include kitting and fulfillment. Operating from a stand-alone facility, we are helping customers large and small in a wide range of industries—including a robust new publications segment in the US—use online tools to help them effectively manage and distribute products locally, nationally and internationally.