BAXTER -- Experience is important to Nelson Graphic Design and Photography.
The company, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary later this year, specializes in outdoor recreation and food product accounts. During those 25 years, it has designed the look of products for over 250 companies from around the world.
In that same period of time, only three people have left Nelson Graphic Design to work elsewhere. The average age of the staff is 44. The staff is loyal and experienced.
For clients, all this translates into the dedication and a personal touch they want going into the design of the company's look. For Nelson Graphic Design, it gives the company the sort of reputation that brings in more business.
And business for Nelson Graphic Design has been growing. Last year the company grew in profits by 24 percent, its highest one-year increase.
It was a more modest beginning for the company's owners, Chuck and Linda Nelson.
Chuck began his graphic design career by starting an advertising agency with one of his Staples technical college instructors. After about four years at that agency, he decided to go out on his own. He and Linda came to Baxter to freelance their own work.
Working out of their home, Chuck began to realize that the demand for his design work was growing faster than he could keep up with it.
"I thought I would freelance my whole life," he said. "But we had so much business, we had to hire someone else." That's when Nelson Graphic Design began.
His first office was located on Design Drive in Baxter, but the business was expanding beyond the office walls. In 1995, Chuck built a new building, west of Highway 371, to suit his business needs.
At about that same time, the agency also changed the scope of what it offers clients. No longer was the focus only on graphic design. Nelson Graphic Design became a full service agency, providing clients with strategic planning and marketing, creative development, public relations, photography, illustration, print, broadcast and electronic media production.
"We grow with our clients," Scott Mitchell, director of accounts, said. "Everything we do has a focus on selling. Clients aren't paying for art, they are paying for sales, identification and awareness of their products."
A list of Nelson's clients includes In-Fisherman magazines, Crestliner Boats, Lindy/Little Joe and Rave Sports, to name a few.
With more and more of its clients looking toward a future of conducting business on the Internet, Nelson Graphic Design is too. Chuck said that currently his company's design work is about 80 percent in print. He said he expects in three to five years about 60 percent of the work will be on the Internet and in interactive media.
Mitchell said Nelson Graphic Design works very closely with its clients, and could be considered an internal part of those companies. Because of this, he said, Nelson doesn't overtly market itself for new business, it relies on word of mouth.
"Our reputation in the industry proceeds itself," Mitchell said. "We have been very successful in getting new business without having to put on dog and pony shows. We're low key."
With a new building, new technology and a new direction, Chuck said he doesn't want to expand any further and he doesn't plan on leaving the business. He is content with where his business is.
"I have no plans of retiring anytime soon," he said. "This business is a lot of fun. We have a lot of fun here."
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