VISTA — The last large-scale commercial printing press in San Diego County is closing its doors.
Advanced Web Offset, or AWO, a printing company operating in Vista since 1989, informed its customers last week the private corporation has merged with Orange County-based Advantage ColorGraphics, one of the largest sheetfed and web offset printers in the western U.S., according to the company’s website.
As a result of the merger, the company’s full web offset production facility in Vista, which produced everything from newspapers and magazines to catalogs and inserts for clients across the San Diego region, will permanently shut down operations on Aug. 12.
Several local publications, including The Coast News and Pickett Fence Media Group, will now consider whether to remain with Advantage ColorGraphics or find a new web offset printing press outside of the region to handle their larger orders.
Advantage ColorGraphics declined to comment on the deal.
A letter notifying customers of the new merger indicated printed materials will be produced from Advantage’s printing press in Anaheim in the next two weeks.
“We are proud to share with you that, after 33 years of business, Advanced Web Offset has decided to merge our business with a company that has the same business ethics and talents…that we do,” the letter reads. “Other than your publications coming off a different press, your account files and history including your aging’s along with your print and delivery windows will remain as you now enjoy.”
The written notice, authored by Tom Ling, owner of Advantage ColorGraphics, and AWO’s vice president Dan Armstrong and general manager Chase Shoemaker, also states the printing company “will continue to service your account as we transition each of you into Advantage’s modern expansive operations.”
A spokesperson at Advanced Web Offset confirmed the North County printing press would no longer be running after Aug. 12 and declined to disclose which publications would be impacted by the change citing confidentiality reasons.
Web offset printing is a high-volume printing technique where large rolls of paper are fed through a web press, also called a roll-fed press. The uninterrupted stream of paper forms a “web” through the machine.
Plated images containing text and photos are inked and transferred (or “offset”) to a rubber blanket before they are stamped on the rolls of paper running through the machine.
While there are dozens, if not hundreds, of commercial printing companies operating in San Diego County, none have the capacity to handle the bulk of printed work required for newspapers and magazines.