More Than a Printer: Cereus Graphics, Phoenix, Arizona

Located in the “Valley of the Sun,” Cereus Graphics has called Phoenix, Arizona, home since 1973.

If you do the math, you’ll quickly recognize that this one-of-a-kind printing firm is celebrating 50 years in the business this year! Five decades of service is quite a legacy, and it’s been made possible primarily because of the Cereus Graphics team, a group of stand-out industry experts and craftspeople who combine advanced digital technologies with traditional offset printing.

Cereus Graphics has discovered the key to meeting a wide range of printing and packaging needs by accommodating even the most demanding schedules without sacrificing quality or precision.

But who exactly is Cereus Graphics? To answer that question, you have to start at the beginning.

Introducing Cereus Graphics

Cereus Graphics began its journey as G&G Printers, founded in 1973 by Tom Ginter and his dad, George, and in 1995, Tom bought controlling interest of the company.

From 2000 to 2003, G&G Printers underwent an interesting journey on its way to becoming Cereus Graphics.

It started in 2000 when a company called PRINTSOURCE USA purchased both G&G Printers and Commercial Lithographers, Inc, which was also located in Phoenix. Six months later, Kelmscott Communications purchased PRINTSOURCE USA and decided to combine both Phoenix printing companies into what is now known as Cereus Graphics.

“In early 2001, we moved both companies into a 65,000-square-foot building,” says Tom. “Fast forward four months, and we got hit with 9/11. Kelmscott lost their backing and gave me a chance to buy my company back, which I accomplished.”

After reacquiring his company, Tom kept the name Cereus Graphics, but after being a G&G printer for 27 years, it took some getting used to.

“I remember the first phone call I received with the new name, and the caller shouted, ‘Are you Cereus?’ My response was immediately wanting to reach through the phone and strangle him,” chuckles Tom. “I love Cereus Graphics now, and if somebody asks me if I’m Cereus, I respond with ‘Yes, we’re Cereus about your business.’”

Building a 50-Year Legacy: How It’s Done

If you’re like most print business owners, you have to wonder what exactly the formula at Cereus Graphics is that has made them so successful for so long.

Colin Walterson (Director of Operations) and Steven England (Director of Technology), tell us that the solid legacy of Cereus Graphics can be boiled down to these ­­five tips.

1. Diversify

Cereus Graphics is no one-trick pony. They have figured out how to serve their audience in numerous ways successfully.

As Colin explains, “One of our strong points is we do lots of different types of products. We run the gamut from commercial printing to mailing services, wide format, packaging, and books. We do many different things here, and we do most of it in-house. That’s one of the reasons why I think we’re still around after all these years.”

2. Develop a Solid Customer Base

While many businesses struggled with lay-offs or even closing their doors during the Covid pandemic, Cereus Graphics remained steady because of its solid customer base.

“Even though our volume of work subsided, we were fruitful enough that we were still able to sustain,” says Steven. “I think it comes down to our product mix and our target customer. For example, we do a lot of election printing, not just locally but regionally as well. And, as you know, if you’re going to have elections, you will have some level of print around. That was a big part of helping sustain us through those difficult times.”

“Another one was our book business,” adds Colin. “We saw sales come in online nationally for that.”

“During Covid, when many people weren’t working or working from home, surprisingly enough, many people had a lot to say. Because of this, we saw growth in the number of people who wanted to become publishers or publish their own books because they had more time to do that. This led to a lot of growth during Covid,” explains Steven.

“We’ve prided ourselves on the sustainability of our customer base. Better than 50% of it has been with us for years, and we don’t see much turnover in our customers.”

3. Remain Relevant

A print business that has been around for 50 years knows what it means to remain relevant by changing and adapting to meet the needs of today’s print buyers.

Cereus Graphics is no exception. They have their eye on what it takes to stand out to their target market in everything from the equipment they purchase to the marketing initiatives they pursue.

“We just bought a new MGI Digital Embellishment Finishing Machine that will do UV coating, spot UV coating, raised UV coating, foil, and variable data all in one pass,” says Colin. “This machine will allow us to provide high-end print pieces that would normally cost a lot of money at a reasonable price through short runs and digital workflows.”

“It’s going to expand our capabilities when it comes to tactile, embellishment-style printing that can play into the co-publishing industry, packaging, and any number of industries,” adds Steven.

“We’ve also done a lot to grow our online business through online storefronts and greater capability and product offering there. We’re certainly being much more aggressive with our social initiatives and are looking more to automation and streamlining the simplification of ordering print and marketing materials via web services.”

4. Set Yourself Apart

Phoenix is a large city, and the competition is heavy, so Cereus Graphic’s success has a lot to do with setting itself apart and being the best in a specific niche.

“It comes back to the level of custom that we provide that helps us stand apart from everyone else,” explains Steven. “While there certainly might be a couple of print providers that are substantially larger than Cereus Graphics, we still have a huge segment of the local market because of what we’re able to provide our customers. We help design pieces that are not always easy to make, especially when it comes to cartons. If you think about folding cartons, a lot of the stuff we do has little compartments inside and things that you wouldn’t think about doing because it’s complex.”

How can you set your print business apart?

As Colin says, “Figure out what you’re good at, and then get better at it.”

“Focus on setting yourself apart from everyone else,” adds Steven. “What can you say about yourself that separates you from everyone else in the field?” 

5. Embrace Change

There is a wide demographic of printers who are letting life pass them by or who are holding on until they can retire or sell the business, but Cereus Graphics takes a different stance – a stance of looking forward and embracing change.

“You have to automate and look at every opportunity to utilize technology to stand out more. So much of what we do, professionally and personally, revolves around data. It doesn’t matter what level of your business is in print, it will involve data at some point. Utilizing technology to handle that data will be a tremendous benefit,” explains Steven. “Tom and the team here have been aggressive at adopting and adapting to new technologies and not fighting or resisting that.”

“Embracing change can be fun, and it means you don’t get stuck in a rut and can scale and look forward to the changes and learn new things,” says Colin. “I think it’s exciting that way.”

Parting Words of Wisdom  

In closing, Colin and Steven share their parting words of wisdom for a printing company that will stand the test of time.

“Be a trendsetter and not a trend follower,” says Colin. “And learn to embrace change.”

Steven adds, “You also have to look at how your print buyers are evolving. Just because you may have always done things a certain way, the people that are actually buying that print are becoming younger and younger all the time. So, look through their eyes in order to realize what’s required or what’s needed.”

This article originally appeared in the February 2023 issue of NPSOA magazine. For more information on how you can become an NPSOA member and enjoy the many benefits offered there, contact Member Services at or head to their website at