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Originally published in the Boulder City View, March 3, 2009. By Fred Couzens, Boulder City View. Photo by Fred Couzens.
To PostNet’s Jim Ismert, the political season is like the holiday season — a gift ready for the taking. So far this year, four of the 10 candidates running for two at-large seats on the City Council have brought business to Ismert in the form of banners, yard signs, door hangers, postcards, fliers and three-inch buttons, but even that can present a challenge.
“It’s kind of a sticky situation,” said Ismert, who’s owned the local print and mail shop for the past five years. “I’m sort of like an arms dealer doing business for both sides.”
He estimates that the time between February and June — the opening of the candidate filing period and the general election — he cranks out thousands of political advertising pieces that account for about 10 percent of his total revenue.
“At first, I didn’t know how to get into it,” said Ismert, who came to Boulder City in 2001. “I started with fliers and then door hangers and moved into the banners.”
Typically, a candidate will order between 500 and 2,500 door hangers at anywhere from 15 cents to 25 cents apiece, between 50 and 150 corrugated plastic yard signs that on average cost $4.50 a pop and upward of a dozen multicolored banners that measure six feet by 36 inches and run about $100 each.
Ismert’s business is the only game in town when it comes to printing vinyl banners that can come in any one of, or a combination of, eight colors and can run as wide as 42 inches.
“UPS (United Parcel Service) does some copying,” he said, “but nobody else is at this level.”
Ismert’s state-of-the-art equipment — the Canon Wide Format Printer that makes banners costs him $2,000 a week just for ink — is all tied together by a computer network that manages files and prints out huge orders in rapid fashion.
Not only is he proud of his equipment, but Ismert also said he felt “blessed” to have Adam Arndt, assistant manager and graphic artist, and Tom Burkhart, the store clerk, on his team.
Ismert came to Southern Nevada at the turn of the millennium from California’s Silicon Valley where for 20 years he was a business applications computer programmer for San Jose programmable chipmaker Xilinx Inc.
Knowing something about business applications, Ismert jumped at the chance when the PostNet opportunity presented itself.
“Since I was retired, I thought copying and shipping work would only be about four hours a day,” he recalled of his early retirement days when he was looking for something to do. “Now I work six days a week here, nine hours a day. But you know what, this is awesome.”