The Company and Its People
Gill-line was founded by Forest P. Gill in 1934 as a silk screen printing company specializing in the printing and decorating of canvas products. The company's beginnings were very modest. For the first several years, printing was done by hand in Forest Gill's basement.
A small, rented downtown building was our first "home." The business survived by printing whatever jobs came its way. In 1945, following World War II, the company employed approximately sixteen people.
The years following the end of the war were a time of growth. It was during this time that Forest Gill combined two products which were developed shortly after the war: fluorescent ink and self-sticking adhesive. The result was the self-sticking bumper sticker which to this day is one of Gill-line's best selling products. It was also just after World War II when we began to sell our line through specialty advertising distributors. This is a relationship that has worked very well. It has allowed us to concentrate on what we do best: developing a strong product line and producing printed items of high quality year after year.
Since 1968, "home" has been a modern, efficient plant located on thirteen acres in a large industrial park in the midwest. Growth has been continuous throughout the years. We've expanded the building three times, taking it from 63,000 square feet to 152,000 square feet. The 1994 purchase of a warehouse located directly adjacent to our current facility brings our total capacity to 240,000 square feet. This building now houses our Roll Label department, several larger screen printing presses and our new large format digital press. It also allows for future growth.
Products and Production
The Gill-line is made up of a wide variety of products that can be used by almost any business or industry. The two major products in the line are Custom Decals and Bumper Stickers. More than one third of our sales comes from Custom Decals. Most of these are made of vinyl, transparent polyester and reflective materials. Bumper Stickers are our second best selling item. It is very likely we are the largest manufacturer of Bumper Stickers in the United States. By the time we celebrated our 50th anniversary in 1984, we had produced over one billion bumper stickers!
The Gill-line also includes a number of fundamental items used by automotive, manufacturing and service businesses. Other items such as Parking Permits and Lapel Stickers serve other basic needs. Gill-line produces a number of promotional items, too. These include Posters, Magnets, SUNbuster auto shades, Sticker Sheets, a variety of Plastic Products as well as a growing line of computer related accessories such as Mouse Pads, CDs, and Keyboard and Monitor Calendars. Our patented Double-Sided Yard Signs are a mainstay in the political market. We also produce a line of offset printed products including full color Magnetic Memo Boards, Mouse Pads, Magnets, Cards and Hangers.
The primary method of production used by Gill-line is screen printing. Our popular custom decals, bumper stickers, posters, equipment signs and magnets are all produced by this method. A secondary line, roll labels, is produced on flexographic printing presses. These are primarily self-adhesive paper products. We also have several highly sophisticated presses, including a rotary letterpress, which allow us to produce labels with very demanding requirements and in large runs efficiently and economically. Other processes include offset printing that produces quality full color products due to finer line screens and tighter registration ability, and large format, full color digital graphics. This process yields photo quality full color images on an amazing array of materials and sizes. Best suited to smaller quantities, we print display signs and materials, point of purchase signs, and decals on custom and stock materials. Durable Digital Printing, introduced in 2012, utilizes "state of the art" printing that offers no fading and outdoor durability for up to five years.
Our eighty-one years in business have been gratifying and we look to the future with enthusiasm. In the years to come, as in the past, we will be sensitive to the needs of those who use our products and those who sell them. Our service will remain the most reliable in the industry. As a family owned business, we will continue to emphasize honesty and integrity...the values that have helped us succeed since 1934.