Christopher Che formed Che International Group, LLC in 2005 with the goal of acquiring and growing subsidiary companies from diverse industries.
Since then, Che's first acquisition -- Hooven Dayton Corp
., which he purchased in 2007 -- has doubled its revenues (from $10 million in 2007 to $20 million in 2010) and made an acquisition of its own -- Benchmark Graphics of Richmond, Ind.
On June 27, Che International made its second acquisition -- Akron-based Digital Color Imaging
, which was promptly renamed Digital Color International, Che says. Altogether, Che International now employs about 150 and primarily serves Fortune 1,000 customers, Che says.
The acquisition of Digital Color, which provides digital, offset and wide format printing as well as direct mail, warehousing and fulfillment services, complements Hooven Dayton, a Dayton-based provider of high quality prime product labels, flexible packaging, promotional coupons and specialty printing solutions, Che says.
"Our goal is for the Che International Group to have subsidiary companies across industry lines but serving the same customer base," he explains.
Che's success as a small-business leader during a slow economy has been noticed not just in west central Ohio but by the White House. In May, he was asked to host a "listening session" of President Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. In June, Che was appointed to the council itself.
"They felt I could bring my expertise to the council as a small business," he says "and help explain what it takes to grow during tough times and what some of our issues are."
How has he been able to grow?
"We focused on really training our people and we did not cut down on marketing budgets," he says."And we developed a very highly impactful value proposition to take to customers -- a value proposition that would make a difference to their bottom line."
Che, who came to the United States from Camaroon in 1980 to attend college, says Ohio has been "a beautiful place for me. It's proven to be very supportive. Whenever I needed them they were there to help me with low-interest loans or training and so forth."
Meanwhile, Che International Group is working on additional acquisitions as well as companies that might merge with Digital Color, Che says.Source: Christopher Che, Che International Group
Writer: Gene Monteith