At Miller IDS, they are realizing how important it is to be celebrating their 100-year anniversary during a pandemic. According to Luci Miller, President of Miller IDS “It instills confidence in our customers and our employees. I run into people who presume that we’ll make it through because we’ve been around so long. We’re surviving well and our customers are happy that we have such strength.”
After all, the former Miller Blue Print was founded by her grandparents in Austin, Texas in 1920, at the tail end of the Spanish Flu Pandemic and prior to the Great Depression. So, the family has some experience running a business during hard times.
Luci, along with her brother Bob and nephew Josh, own Miller IDS. And she believes there’s strength in a family-owned business during tough times. “We make decisions quickly regarding our response to this pandemic, and family members join together to make sure we stay strong to survive during these times.”
When asked what her strategy is, she says there’s no real strategy because they’re still in the middle of the pandemic and adjusting to it. “We tailor our response to what our customer’s need and whatever they need, we’ll get it for them.” She said they just tightened their belts and went from 39 to 29 employees.
When asked if color graphics is still a big part of her business, Luci says yes, but she’s thankful Miller IDS is not more dependent on events. She’s hearing about companies that are printing for events taking a real hit. In-person events are practically non-existent during this pandemic.
Miller IDS has seen their fair share of COVID-19 signage, particularly from job sites, private companies and during this past summer from school districts. They are seeing some seasonality in business and larger projects from their customers, but it’s a lot of smaller jobs in paper signage and menus that keeps them going.
According to Vittoria Mottler, Graphics Manager, they have printed floor decals and similar work in response to the pandemic. Overall, color graphics has taken a bit of a dive but it has been picking up in the past few weeks with routine jobs coming through the store.
Miller IDS is getting used to the situation and printing social distance signage, some construction, commercial real estate and restaurant business as well. Their reprographics business at the two Austin locations is doing well with construction remaining strong, but she fears there’s not much in the pipeline. Equipment sales are trickling in from the pipeline created mostly prior to the pandemic.
To sum up survival in the age of a pandemic, Luci Miller states “This is not our first rodeo, but it’s the first one I organized.”
This time, it pays to be 100-years old!