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12.08.10

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Phaedra

Adhering to Quality

By Sara Jane Pohlman


Massive windows overlooking a bend in the Petaluma River allow plenty of light to enter the expansive offices that house one of the largest sticker companies in the country. On any given month, Mrs. Grossman's Sticker Company has up to 500 sticker designs on store shelves worldwide, and on a recent Monday morning, nearly 5,000 miles of stickers wait on spools at the Petaluma headquarters to be packaged and sold.

That's what happens when you've been at it for so long. Founder Andrea Grossman began making stickers as early as 1972, continually expanding her product line to suit the growing needs of paper crafters. "Stickers appeal to anyone," says Jason Grossman, the founder's son and current head of the company. "They're a cheap form of art. Kids go crazy for them."

The family-owned-and-operated digs, combined with a dogs-allowed policy, makes for a friendly workplace. "Employees like to stick around," says Grossman, who admits he was fired from various positions at the company while growing up. He returned in 1989 and channeled his passion for manufacturing to keep sticker production to the home base. The team railed against manufacturing overseas, relenting only for products with too much handling to produce domestically.

Butterflies, birthdays and Christmas designs rank as consistent favorites year after year, and along with printing colorful creatures, elaborate pirate ships and shiny vegetable stickers, the company branched into labeling 11 years ago. Paragon Label creates detailed tags mostly for local wineries, but "it's not just a label to me," says Grossman with pride. "Not everyone can do it."

"It" means using high-quality papers, foil, embossing, digital printing and laser-cut designs to create an accessible piece of sticky art. Comfortable on the cutting edge, Mrs. Grossman's remains the only sticker company in the nation with a laser built specifically to cut out intricate sticker and label designs. The $1 million machine was built by Lasercraft in Santa Rosa.

This technology, combined with a workroom of 10 printing presses, allows for the creation of both the iconic red heart sticker (the first design, by Mrs. Grossman herself) and dramatic silhouettes for high-end wine labels. Outside of the online store, where stickers can be ordered direct from a complete list of designs, customers can find Mrs. Grossman's stickers at nearly 4,000 retailers worldwide.

Mrs. Grossman's Sticker Company, 3810 Cypress Drive, Petaluma. 800.429.4549.


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