Necessity breeds invention, and that’s where it all began for Rapid Prototypes. The business landscape of Northwest Arkansas has been shaped by the needs of the household brands that supply the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart.
Prior to 2003, there was no way for national brands (suppliers) to quickly and efficiently produce packaging and display samples for presentation to Wal-Mart buyers. With nothing more than a printer, cutting table, and a dream of what could be, we began meeting these growing needs of suppliers. Relying on our knowledge of the industry, my reputation in the printing industry, and our “roll up your sleeves” attitudes, we have since been able to expand facilities twice– from 3000 sqft to our current 25,000 sqft facility.
I began my career in printing knowing early that I wanted to own a business if that opportunity was afforded to me. My time and dedication to that family-owned business built the relationships with area leaders that would create that opportunity I had longed for. I felt inspired by the respect and admiration of the owner of my first job at a printing company, I always dreamed of emulating that in my own firm. Rapid Prototypes began with long days and nights hand painting– (yes I said hand painting)– corrugate sheets outside in the parking lot. We worked 48 hours straight to meet the needs of our clients and lived off of lots of pizza deliveries.
In 2006, we invested in our first digital flatbed printer. Gamechanger–We hit our stride! We were soon able to produce high-quality consistent color prints at a great pace, considering the technology. With further expansion of processes and capabilities, we began producing more primary packaging and flexible packaging samples as the needs of the suppliers evolved. The volume of orders grew, as did our reach. By 2013, we were producing samples that were being
It has always amazed me how quickly one can fill up whatever expanse is available. With all of the new space, we have been afforded the ability to steadily expand. We improved equipment and added plenty of new family members.
The excitement of growth won us over and in 2013 we made the decision to relocate to our current location in the center of the action, on Walton Blvd. Less than 2 weeks in, we came to realize this was the best decision we had ever made. Our clients responded gratefully along with us; the ability to stretch our legs again was invigorating. We are now in a total of 25,000 sqft adding new equipment, more people, and definitely more capabilities.
All of this would not be possible without the amazing support of my wife first and foremost. Her unending faith in me is inspiring. My children are the reason I do what I do. My foundation of who I am, my parents, always supported me through the tough times. It’s always my dad’s voice in my head directing me through tough decisions.
Being a small business owner is the true joy and passion of my life. To be able to affect the lives of my employees, my family, my friends, and my community is a true gift– and one that I do not take for granted.
I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for Rapid Prototypes.