Pricing, service and culture key to success with Labels & Decals


Labels & Decals, a small converter in Elgin, Illinois has been a key customer of Channeled Resources Group (CRG) since Steve Bartscher bought the 65-year-old family-run business in 2011. Print entrepreneur Bartscher has been in the industry for over thirty years, most notably in sales leadership roles with the former Standard Register company.

In 2008, he purchased L&S Label in Rockford, Illinois and then three years later added Labels & Decals to his portfolio and moved all manufacturing to that site.
Steve Bartscher, CEO

Today Labels & Decals produces labels on seven flexographic presses with a  maximum width of 13” and can run up to six colors.  Finishing and varnishes are all done onsite.  With their small digital press, they can also meet the needs of customers seeking quick and small runs of labels with low order quantities.

It Starts with Competitive Pricing 

Selling only through print brokers instead of direct to brands, Labels & Decals works on razor-thin margins and must source competitive materials in order to stay profitable.  

And that’s where Channeled Resources comes in. Since 2011, the relationship between the two companies has grown exponentially.  With a 50/50 split of prime to shipping/warehousing labels, Labels & Decals routinely purchases Thermal Transfer, Direct Thermal and Semi Gloss as well as white and clear BOPP, Laser, EDP, fluorescents and vinyl from CRG. Bartscher notes that, “Being a trade-only printer, I have to very carefully manage my label material budget.”

Although they had historically purchased only CRG’s value materials, Labels & Decals has recently begun to order the new Channeled ChoiceTM  portfolio of premium quality pressure-sensitive papers and film offcuts which CRG launched in March, 2020.  Bartscher exclaims that, “My eyebrows went up when I first heard about Channeled Choice. The price point is still competitive, and I’m getting a much higher grade of material.”  The first order run by Labels & Decals was on Semi Gloss All Temp and the press operators were very satisfied with how well it ran on their Mark Andy flexo press. 

Then Add Great Service to the Mix

Labels & Decals maintains a daily “hot list” of projects that need immediate attention for key customers.  If they don’t have the material onsite, CRG will do “whatever it takes” to get it to them quickly.  The customer care personnel from both companies work together intensely — routinely speaking to one another multiple times a week.

And finally wrap it up with culture

Bartscher notes that while “competitive pricing is essential – right after that comes CRG’s phenomenal culture.”  He applauds CRG President Cindy White for building relationships throughout the company based on customer responsiveness.  “The communication is fantastic. You never have to wait for a call back – transparency is key to our growth with CRG.”

He concludes that “it’s remarkable how well they’ve performed over the years.  At the end it comes down to culture — they are simply wonderful people who really care about us.”