What is the History of Miller Sherwood Printing?
Written by Jaime Zuniga
In 1920, Will and Avery Miller opened Miller Printing as a commercial letterpress shop in the Los Angeles metro area. In the fifties Julius (Jay) Meyers purchased the company, added some Multilith presses and renamed it Jay’s Litho reflecting its move to offset printing.
Looking for more opportunities, in 1965 Cesar Zuniga immigrated to the United States from Ecuador, South America. He had been raised in a printshop and had a great desire to grow in the industry and improve his young family’s lifestyle. Upon arriving he immediately came to work at Jay’s Litho where he met his future partner Joe Macias. Cesar and Joe, in 1977 purchased the printing company and renamed the company to Jay’s Litho-Miller Printing in honor of the shops roots. Committed to serve their clients, Cesar and Joe continued the shop’s transformation mixing commercial printing with the fast turnaround of quick printing by replacing the Multiliths with AB Dick 360's; they also purchased an Agfa camera to shoot negatives and halftones in house, as well as, typesetting equipment which included an IBM Composer, in order to provide quicker and more reliable turnaround. Another service they added in the 1980’s was retail office supplies with Cesar’s wife, Maria, running a stationery store at the front of the building.
In 1990 Joe retired and Cesar purchased Joe’s assets and simplified the company name to Miller Printing Company. Cesar, looking to the future, brought in his eldest son, Jaime, and a year later his youngest son, Paul, to work in the company; he also upgraded the single color presses with an AB Dick 8820 with a T-head in order to provide multi color printing to their clients. Another significant move was the purchase of our first DTP Windows computer with a scanner and a laser printer; this allowed Miller Printing to enter into the “digital age.” 1991 saw our fist purchase of another printing company—The Printery from retiring Marshal Lindley. In April 1992, Los Angeles experienced the tragedy of the Los Angeles Riots and the printing company suffered much damage and looting during those somber days. Cesar seizing the opportunity relocated the company to Burbank and to our present location.
We foresaw dramatic change in the office supply and printing industry; we closed the office supply part of the business when the mega stores began to monopolize. We then upgraded the pressroom with the purchase of a two tower AB Dick 9985 press; with this press we were able to provide greater level of quality to our clients and a better product mix, including our first foray into process color. We soon found out that process color was a growth opportunity for Miller Printing. In 1997 we acquired another printing company West End Graphics of San Fernando, CA, which led to the purchase of our first color press the Ryobi 3304. At the same time we expanded the Desktop Publishing department and now offered Windows and Macintosh support and an email address for sending and receiving digital files.
Four color printing continued to grow which led us in 1999 to upgrade our prepress department: we added more Macs and Windows computers, a color scanner, a laser printer. a color ink jet printer, color key maker and an ECRM imagesetter for producing negatives. We could now service our client’s prepress needs without having to rely on outside providers. With increased capacity we saw an opportunity to merge with another printing company, Sherwood Printing in Sun Valley, CA; this necessitated the name change to our current name, Miller Sherwood Printing Company. Shortly after this merger we upgraded our bindery department adding a Baum right angle folder, a Standard Horizon Collator/Booklet Maker and a Challenge 3-Hole drill; we also added a high speed DSL line to transfer digital files quickly. Later in 2002 we constructed our first website for our clients at www.millersherwood.com.
In 2003 we reevaluated our company direction and concluded that our clients were relying on us to produce more critical color work so we made a decision to upgrade our four color press and replace it with a five color Heidelberg GTO-52-5; this press allows us to provide our clients with best quality they deserve in process color orders with the added advantage of including a fifth color or a varnish to further enhance their image on paper. We did not rest there; we also upgraded our over thirty year old Polar cutter to a Programmable Polar cutter.
2004 saw yet another acquisition of a printing company, A.O. Barstow Printing, located in Burbank. We also upgraded the prepress department by updating our computers with a Mac G5 and Pentium IV. However, as has been our history, we did not stop there; we upgraded our website at www.millersherwood.com which now includes added features such as an FTP site, expanded email service and as you can see many other features, foremost being the customized Customer Portals that many of you are using.
Although we remained up-to-date in our prepress department and had a professional and functional website, by 2005 we were years behind in our management and estimating system. We studied the many programs and settled on the industry's best software for printing companies, Printsmith. Printsmith has helped us be more customer service efficient with the ability to provide quick estimates or retrieve previously ordered jobs quickly. With Printsmith we are now up-to-date in our management system.
We made a commitment to reduce our chemical usage and help clean up our environment! So, in September 2007 we installed two new pieces of equipment: the Xante Ilumina Digital Color Press and the Xante Platemaker 5 Computer To Plate (CTP) laser plate maker. The Ilumina Digital Color Press is designed to provide traditional press reproduction in a digital format for short run color jobs at reasonable prices and also reduces chemical usage. The Platemker 5 is chemical-free and process-free and produces polyester plates with sharp images and good halftones. With this plate maker we will cut our chemical usage in plate making by as much as 50%! Both machines will allow us to be GREENER and more environmentally friendly.
Elizabeth Vega came to work at Miller Sherwood Printing in 2008 bringing over 30 years of experience in the printing industry and has improved our customer service, prepress and digital printing departments; this along with the success of the Ilumina Digital Color Press has led us to acquire more digital based equipment.
July 2, 2008 Paul Zuniga passes away after battling Esophageal Cancerr.
In February 2009 Laura Cummings joined Miller Sherwood Printing; Laura has run a number of commercial and digital printing companies over the years including Spectrum Digital. Laura graduated from California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor in Commercial Printing: she has greatly improved our digital and commercial printing departments. We also added two Mac Pros, a Canon CLC 4000 digital color press, a Canon IPF 9000 Ink Jet Large Format Printer for printing high quality posters up to 60” wide, Scott Tabbing Press and Laminator for producing custom tabs for binders, a hot and cold laminator, a ten bay CD/DVD burner and other bindery equipment to more fully service our commercial and digital departments which will better service our most important assets, our clients.
April 2009 we replaced the Canon CLC 4000 with the Canon imagePress 6000C, in order to provide the best Digital Color solutions for our clients.
April 2010 we added a Canon ImageRunner 7095 in order to produce black and white digital jobs and also replaced our IPF 9000 Ink Jet Large Format Printer with a more up-to-date IPF 9100.
December 5, 2010 Maria Zuniga passes away from a liver decease.
January 2011 Cesar Zuniga hands off day-to-day operations to Jaime Zuniga.
May 2011 Laura Cummings moved on to the corporate world and the third generation of Zunigas joined the company: Heather and Mathew Zuniga. Heather and Mathew are both studying graphic design and are learning the future of graphic communication.
As for the future, we intended on adding more environmentally friendly equipment as we replace older equipment. Metal Computer-to-plate (CTP) device with digital proofer and more productive digital equipment are a priority or whatever equipment, products and services will best serve our clients needs. Over the years we have become a full service commercial and digital printing company.