San Diego County’s last large-scale printing plant closes

VISTA — The last large-scale commercial printing plant in San Diego County is closing.

Advanced Web Offset, or AWO, a printing company that has operated in Vista since 1989, informed customers last week that the private company had merged with Orange County-based Advantage ColorGraphics, one of the largest printers sheetfed and web offset in the western United States, according to the company’s website.

As a result of the merger, the company’s full web offset production facility in Vista, which produced everything from newspapers and magazines to catalogs and inserts for customers in the San Diego area, will permanently close operations on August 12. .

Several local publications, including The Coast News and Pickett Fence Media Group, will now consider staying with Advantage ColorGraphics or finding a new web offset press outside the region to handle their larger orders.

Advantage ColorGraphics declined to comment on the deal.

A letter notifying customers of the new merger stated that printed materials would be produced from Advantage’s Anaheim printing press within the next two weeks.

“We are proud to share with you that after 33 years in business, Advanced Web Offset has decided to merge our business with a company that has the same business ethics and talent… as us,” reads the letter. “Apart from your publications from another press, your account files and history, including your aging as well as your printing and delivery windows, will remain as you currently enjoy them.”

The written notice, authored by Tom Ling, owner of Advantage ColorGraphics, and AWO Vice President Dan Armstrong and General Manager Chase Shoemaker, also states that the print shop “will continue to service your account while we transition each of you to the vast modern operations of Advantage. ”

A spokesperson for Advanced Web Offset confirmed that the North County printing press would no longer operate after August 12 and declined to disclose which publications would be affected by the change for privacy reasons.

Rotary offset printing is a high-volume printing technique in which large rolls of paper are fed into a rotary press, also called roller press. The uninterrupted flow of paper forms a “web” through the machine.

Flat images containing text and photos are inked and transferred (or “offset”) to a rubber blanket before being stamped onto the paper rolls that pass through the machine.

Although there are dozens, if not hundreds, of commercial printing companies operating in San Diego County, none has the capacity to handle the bulk of the print work required for newspapers and magazines.