Beyond the Billboard: How Expressway/Fastsigns Gets the Message from Boro Park to the World
centuries’-old industry… one that has evolved at an impossible speed.
On Fifteenth Avenue in Boro Park, there has been a printing establishment for close to forty years—bringing the written word to light. There is a good chance that Torah pamphlets, invitations and business cards—and dozens of types of stationary and ‘communication materials’ cards, envelopes, etc., etc.,)’ that you have seen over the years in Boro Park and beyond have originated in Expressway Printing.
Perhaps most notable of all is the weekly “Alim Litrufah,” a rich Torah weekly that has been produced by the Belzer Chassidus for a few decades now—and distributed in Torah communities around the world. On the back, one will notice the conspicuous Expressway Printing logo—a Boro Park printer sponsoring the dissemination Torah in Boro Park.
In time they have added a range of services in related fields, including signs and all matter of marketing materials. “If your name goes on it, we produce it,” says Shimon Osibel (whose extended family members have been in Boro Park for close to 100 years). Today, BoroPark24 goes Beyond the Billboard.
“Expressway was opened close to forty years ago, and was then sold, about a decade ago,” Shimon relates. “But this industry is almost unlike any other. If your furniture arrives two weeks, or even a month, late… it’s OK. You can still use it for the rest of your life. But in this industry… if the invitation arrives after the wedding… the Torah pamphlet on the following parasha… they’re totally useless.
“So speed, timeliness, reliability… they’re not simply a nice customer service practice; it’s the central pillar of the business. This is not for the faint of heart,” Shimon—who has managed to streamline the business into an efficient operation—says with a smile.
Like so many other industries, the printing industry is continuously undergoing tremendous overhauls and changes—in machinery, digital, supply chain… and a business must stay current in order to survive. The United States is slowly ceding the paper supply to China—which is now responsible for 30% of paper supply into the United States.
But the major change has been from offset printing (with plates, etc.) to digital printing: “the quality and the speed is incomparable, the ink dries instantly, and most importantly, we are able to produce any printed product in-house. And that has been the real game changer.”
A few years ago, Expressway joined a franchise called “Fastsigns,” which produces signage for events and other promotional materials. Many of the “car wraps” on commercial vehicles and school buses, and many signs and logos for businesses around Boro Park and beyond were produced by Fastsigns.
“Since Fastsigns is an international brand, we regularly produce marketing materials for large corporations; there really is no job too big or too small,” Shimon says.
Shimon’s advice to business people starting out is: “dream. You must have a dream, and Hashem will help you get there.”
On the Expressway/Fastsigns difference: “People who come to us tell us that the personal touch that we give every single project, the speed and the turnaround, accompanying every project—indoor or outdoor—from start to finish, is a standard that we have perfected.