Acadiana Business

Tri-Star Graphics Group has new owner

by Leslie Turk

TriStar Graphics Group's new owner is a familiar face in the local printing biz. Benson Young, who lived in Lafayette for 20 years before moving to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, has returned to purchase TriStar Graphics Group.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition includes manufacturing operations in Lafayette, located at 107 Commission Blvd., and Monroe, as well as Monroe-based American Envelope Company.

TriStar Graphics Group has 43 full-time employees and specializes in commercial offset, digital and envelope printing. Its previous owners, Mike Guidry of Lafayette and Bob Devinney of Monroe, will remain as executive management until their retirement from the 22-year-old company. Benson, who has two decades of experience in the printing and graphic arts industry, tells ABiz he'll lean on their expertise during the transition. "Mike and Bob aren't retiring on a set schedule; we're taking our time with the transition," he says. "I value their advice and guidance in running the company they built. Right now, it looks like they will retire around the end of the year, possibly sooner."

Young lived in Lafayette from 1980 until 2000. His background in this market was centered around the prepress/printing world, he says, having worked for Pixus Digital, Express Printing and as a prepress/technology consultant for a client list that included Calzone & Associates, Graham Group, Davis Partners and Andrepont Printing. He also worked for TriStar for four years, helping to build the Lafayette plant. "You may remember a lot of those old-school players back then," Benson says, "Bill Dalton, Lynn Craddick, John Crisp."

Young spent the past 11 years in Mississippi, primarily as chief technology officer for Knight-Abbey in Biloxi. He returned to Lafayette specifically for the opportunity to acquire TriStar.

In addition to providing printing services, Young says he is investing in a major expansion of TriStar into direct mail, variable data marketing, and fulfillment services, which will create several new jobs in the area. "Technology has changed the way we communicate, and businesses are changing the way they market themselves to develop customers," he says. "Printing is only part of our customers' needs, and we will evolve with direct mail and communications services."

Founded in 1988 in Monroe, TriStar Graphics Group expanded its Lafayette sales office in 1996 with the addition of a second printing plant. It is today the largest commercial printer in the Acadiana area. "There are many innovative companies in the area, which presents a unique opportunity for strong partnerships," Benson says. "It feels great to be home."