Berks Digital, Inc.

Since he was 13 years old, Gary Brown, founder of Berks Digital Inc., hoped to someday have his own business. “It’s taken a lot longer than I thought it would,” he admitted. While it may have taken longer, Berks Digital Inc. is doing quite well today. The company specializes in small and large format high-end color commercial printing that spans from brochures, fliers, and mailings, to banners, store signage, and trade show displays. The core customer base is mainly larger local companies with over 100 employees, including banks, grocery chains, and manufacturing companies.

Gary was introduced to printing through the Berks Career and Technology Center’s Printing Program. Gary was originally interested in studying photography, but when he found that he was unable to enter that program because it had been filled; his guidance counselor recommended printing as an alternative because he could still make use of a camera. This was a great suggestion. Gary loved it, and it turned into a productive career upon graduating by entering the world of professional printing.

After years of working for others, the conditions were finally right in 2005 for Gary to start his own company. He seized the opportunity by establishing Berks Digital, Inc. In 2008, he moved operations from his home to 2620 Hampden Boulevard in Reading. Since 2010, he and his wife, Elaine, have worked there full time. That same year, they acquired Dimension Four Marketing. Today, they have four full time employees. From 2010 to 2011, they boasted a 72% increase in business, and sought to grow further. In November 2011, Gary approached the Kutztown University SBDC after meeting Scott Schaeffer, the SBDC’s financial director, at a networking event in the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Kutztown University SBDC continues to work with Gary on strategic planning as he seeks to grow his business in a smart and sustainable way. By reviewing the company’s financial documents, the SBDC is assisting Gary in analyzing the financial condition of Berks Digital, Inc. This process is helping Gary determine when and how to grow, from analyzing the timing and types of new hires, to determining the level and sources of additional financing required to expand operations while maintaining a positive cash flow.

While Gary had the drive and the skill to succeed, one of his biggest challenges was learning the complexities of operating a successful business. Years in printing had provided him with a strong background in the technical process, management, and marketing, but he still had to learn additional skills. The transition to owning his own business required him to learn about finance and accounting. He says, “I had a lot to learn, and I am still learning every day.”

In addition to his work building Berks Digital, Inc., Gary has also been involved in some charitable endeavors. He is a member of Entrepreneurs Connection, who, along with the Reading Redevelopment Authority, is working to revitalize park space near Reading Area Community College. Reading Rising Park will be located at the corner of Second and Franklin Streets. What was once a vacant lot will be transformed into a much-needed green space within the city.

His business has provided pro bono work for non-profit agencies such as Habitat for Humanity and the Berks County Association for the Blind. Finally, as a demonstration of gratitude to the institution, Gary sits on the craft advisory committee for the Berks Career and Technology Center’s Graphics Technology Program.

    • Berks Digital