Coffee Break: Jeff Bittner, AlphaGraphics

Name: Jeff Bittner

Title: Owner

Company: AlphaGraphics — Wood Dale

Address: 165 Hansen Court, Suite 111, Wood Dale

Phone: (630) 595-6800


Industry: Printing and signs

Annual revenue: $1.4 million

Number of employees: 8

Age: 52

Family information: Married to my wife for 25 years, two college-aged sons

Hometown: Bartlett

Q: Describe your company.

Alphagraphics in Wood Dale is a family-owned, technology-focused, digital print and sign company. We want every project to be a success for our clients. Whether you’re sending a direct mail campaign, looking to stand out on the trade show floor, or promoting your biggest event of the year, our team is here to help you succeed.

Q: Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

Mainly into more automation and user experience improvements. We plan to expand our e-commerce offerings.

Q: What will your company’s main challenges be in the next year?

Managing technology and labor. Where does tech take over for labor and how to reallocate that labor.

Q: What's the hottest trend in your industry?

Personalized print. Custom-addressed mail and marketing pieces. Using data to be relevant to clients to whom you market.

Q: If you had one tip to give to a rookie executive, what would it be?

Listen … those who’ve been there before have a lot of wisdom to learn from. Let those who’ve already “done it” help you become the best you can be.

Q: Do you have a business mantra?

Take care of our clients. Simple but so important.

Q: From a business outlook, whom do you look up to?

Other owners in the AG network, we have a great pool of smart people that have accomplished a lot. Each one just a phone call away, such a great business advantage.

Q: What is one interesting fact about you or your company that most people may not know?

We were the AlphaGraphics regional business center of the year in 2022 — an honor that we don’t take lightly. So many great people in this organization.

Q: Was there a moment in your career that didn’t go as you had planned? What lesson did you learn from it?

Does COVID count? Who planned for that? It reinforced how important having a great team is. How they all came together to get through a trying time to keep our business alive and moving forward.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

Good chance you will find me engrossed in some woodworking project or wandering some place with a camera in hand. Love to hike with my wife and family and take pics of just about anything.

Q: What book is on your nightstand?

Something about Walt Disney, love the culture about “plussing” things up for his guests.

Q: What keeps you up at night?

As a small-business owner? Mainly, what’s next. Tomorrow, next week, next month and so on. Always have to be thinking about how to stay relevant.

Q: If you were not doing this job, what do you think you would be doing?

Not sure I could pay the bills with my hobbies, so something in the print industry for sure. Love what I do and don’t really feel like I am working most days. I would stay in this industry for sure.

Q: What was your first paying job?

Worked in my high school print shop. We printed all the materials for three high schools in the district. Probably the best part-time job I’ve ever had. Who knew the impact that would have made?

Q: If you could put your company name on a sports venue, which one would you choose?

I would probably pick a smaller venue locally, high school, college, where any revenue could potentially help young people.

Q: Two people to follow on X and why. (besides your company)

DogLeg Apparel, a plug for a young entrepreneur who helps dog rescue shelters, @DogLegApparel_. Steve Martin because we can all use a laugh everyday, @SteveMartinToGo.

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