COVID-19 Update – April 9, 2020

COVID-19 Update – April 9, 2020

Rose City Label is committed to full communication and transparency during this crisis.  We have weathered storms, recessions, wars, and many other catastrophic events.  We will survive and thrive through this crisis together and come out better on the other side.  Read our thoughts on coming out of the crisis here.

State of the Union

We are working hard to keep our staff and customers safe.  So far everyone is cooperating and stepping up, but there is a level of stress and unease.  People are uncertain about the outcome of this pandemic and we are doing our best to support them, while still getting things done for our customers.

Limiting Visitors – No Will Call Pickups

Perhaps the biggest impact for our customers is that we are not allowing Will Call pick ups at our facility.  We are not doing any press checks, tours, or sales appointments.  Our outside sales team is now working via phone only and we hope to roll out some vitrual (Zoom) sales calls with clients in the future, depending on how long all this lasts.  We will be safe and continue to do our part until everything is fully back to normal and safe.

Measures we are Taking

Our team has been wonderful and understanding. Anyone that shared an office is out of that office.  Some have moved into open cubes, and in one case, we transformed our conference room into an office.  We aren’t having any visitors, so no need for a conference room!  Twice daily we have a production meeting to keep the schedule on track.  Now, instead of sitting around a conference table, we are all backed away from the table to create a huge social distance between us.  Nobody is close, so physical contact is very limited.  Also, one of our amazing team members used her down time to sew face masks for us.  She brought them in and gave them away.  Very kind and much appreciated.  Check out a sample here in this post!

Staggered Work Schedules

People are also adjusting their hours to make sure fewer people are in the building at one time.  Most people run machines that are big enough that they are social distancing by default.  They just don’t work that closely.  But, in cases where people do work closely, we have staggered with people working three 12 hour shifts each week.  Some work M-W, some W-F and some have come up with other job sharing rotations so we always have coverage, but limit the contact with co-workers. So far it is working well.

Testing, testing…

We are taking a very conservative stance on returning to work after any type of illness, cough, or flu-like symptoms.  A few people have done tele-medicine visits and none have been referred to a clinic for a full test.  Still, we feel good that everyone is protected.  Nobody comes back to work after a sick day without a doctor’s note clearing them.

Thank You – We will Survive and Thrive together!

 This is a tough challenge for everyone, including our customers, families and staff.  Sadly, several people will be personally affected and someone may even have a family member infected with this terrible disease.  It will also be a massive financial impact on several of our customers – especially food and beverage producers.  Financial struggles are ahead for all of us, but we will make it through this together!  THANK YOU for all of your ongoing support.  Rose City Label was founded in 1928 and we have been through many tough times since then – recession, depression, war, elections and impeachments.  We have seen stock market crashes and all forms of tragedy, but we have also seen people rise and thrive after all these events.  Together, we will get through this.

Things are GOOD – Note to My Future Self

Things are GOOD – Note to My Future Self

This is an exerpt and update from a post I wrote almost 8 years ago!  The last time we went through a major business challenge, I wrote this post when it was all done.  The lessons are still as relevant as they were then.  Here is an updated, 2020, COVID-19 version of the results we will see in 12 months (according to my crystal ball and best predictive skills).  Enjoy!

My reflection on the recovery after 2008-2010:

We are very fortunate here at Rose City Label that our business seems to be back on track.  We still have challenges, as we always will, but if our business could continue to prosper like it has the past 24 months, we would be very happy.  This improved business climate caused me to reflect and remember when, not too long ago, things weren’t very good.

Like many businesses, ours was caught flat footed when the bottom fell out in 2008.  We were not prepared for the dramatic slowdown, and we had to take some serious measures to correct things quickly.  We said goodbye to an employee that wasn’t performing, and we cut back hours in our production facility.  These were difficult, nerve racking times for all of us.  One of the things I remember most is that I never appreciated  when things were good!  I just assumed things would always be good.  Now I know this isn’t always the case.


This is what we will be thinking in Q1 2021 – you heard it here first:

1. Celebrate Success! We aren’t setting records or hitting a home run on every single order, but we have much to be thankful for.  I am trying to remind all the people in our company, and trying to remind myself, that things are good.  We all need to take time to recognize this and give ourselves a small pat on the back for hanging in there. This is true now more than ever!  COVID-19 showed us that basic, simple things can be taken at any moment – freedom, health, even life can be snatched from us very quickly.  We need to celebrate success on every level.  Celebrate!

2. Don’t Take the Future for Granted.  Now I know that things can turn sour – in a hurry.  I know that we can’t afford to get lazy, complacent, or arrogant.  We always need to push forward and keep getting better every day.  Tomorrow is promised to no one.  Continuous improvement and staying hungry are the only things that will help us stay strong. This is the flip side of #1 above.  NEVER assume that things will always be good. Even in this COVID-19 crisis, I considered NOT applying for the PPP loan because we think we will probably, (probalby?) get through the crisis without it. Still, how stupid is that?  How arrogant?  We aren’t sure if we will get the loan yet, but our application is in.

3. Protect the Downside.  If, God forbid, we do have another major dip in the economy or world events, or if we have a serious problem in our own company, we need to protect the downside.  As a leader I waited too long to make the hard decisions last time.  I assumed all would be good – I didn’t know how long the downturn would last, or how deep it would be.  Thankfully, we are a conservative, financially secure company, so we could withstand the storm, but I don’t want to get that close to the edge again.  More proactive management would have helped ease the pain, and I am going to keep that in mind for the future.  This is the biggest lesson learned – the business must survive.  Obviously family, health, and integrity have to be in tact, but shortly after that on the SHORT list is the survival of the business.  As this COVID-19 crisis unfolds, we will keep business survival as our guiding light for all decisions.

Summary and Action Steps: 

Hopefully these three ideas can help our customers as we move forward.  They are all important, but especially now, I am focusing on #1 – Celebrate Success!

These ideas hold up today as well as they did almost exactly 8 years ago.  The future is promised to nobody, we have to protect our business, and we have so many blessings to be thankful for.  We need to take more time now and in the future to love, laugh, breathe, and be thankful.  On that note, we continue to be thankful for all the good customers that have been reading this blog all these years.  We will get through this together.  Cheers!

Thanks to all of you for being a part of that success for Rose City Label.



Why Choose Rose City Label?

Why Choose Rose City Label?

Excellent Print Quality

The baseline reason for picking a label printer is that they can print excellent, high quality labels for you. If your brand doesn’t shine on the retail shelf, the the conversation goes no further. With flexo, HP Indigo digital printing, and foil stamping and embossing, print quality is a great reason to choose Rose City Label

Flexible and Hungry

Our business has doubled in the past 10 years and we have made great investment in new equipment. Still, we are a small, scrappy company. We are a 92 year old brick and mortar company with a start-up mentality. If you buy the kind of labels we make well, we want your business! Choose Rose City Label for our flexibility and willingness to work for your business. Special delivery times? Specific packaging? Run and hold programs? Rose City Label can offer all those and more.

Best People in the Business

Everyone knows a business is built on the quality of its people. We are too. But more than just talking about great people, we factually and actually have the most experienced crew in the market. With many over 20 years and two people over 30 years with Rose City Label, we have a very experienced and dedicated crew. They even come in on emergency weekends to delivery labels 3,500 miles for a customer!

Nationally Recognized Green Business

Since our County certification in 2009, people choose Rose City Label for our green business practices. We earned a very prestigious certification this year, and the Environmental Leadership award last year. We have reduced our water consumption by 47% in the past 5 years!

Family Business Values

We are still locally owned and operated. We are a family business first and foremost. Many of our employees have relatives in the business and that makes us a family not just a business. Our roots are deep and this long-term perspective helps us do the right things for our customers.

Call Us Today!

For all the reasons listed above, people choose Rose City Label more and more each week. Our customer list continues to grow and we are very thankful for that. Want to learn more? Call us today at 503-777-4711.

State of the Art Label Printing – HP 6900 Press

State of the Art Label Printing – HP 6900 Press

State of the Art Label Printing – HP 6900 Press

Our new HP Indigo 6900 is coming next month!  This machine is a massive upgrade to our digital department.  We will be able to help more people with more high-quality digital labels than ever.  This machine provides the most sustainable digital label platform.  Here are a few of the highlights.

Read This First – ORDER EARLY!

While we are upgrading the press and getting factory operator training, we will be down for two weeks in December 2018.  Please order early if you need labels before the Holidays.

Better Image Quality

Because of the improved laser writing head, the image resolution is better than ever.  This means brighter, more vibrant colors, crisp text, and even more precise color matching.  State of the Art Label Printing – HP 6900 Press

Double Print Speed

At nearly 100 feet per minute, this press rivals traditional print speed. No setup and virtually no waste mean faster delivery for customers.

More Efficient Press Layout

Besides the faster speed, the press is more efficient.  This is a web press with labels delivered in rolls, but the images are transferred to the material in pages (called ‘frames’ in HP lingo).  This press has more than double the page size of the previous machine.  Maximum label size is now 12″x 38″.  More importantly, we can fit more labels of any size into this frame size which means less waste, faster printing, and better results for customers.

Better Color Consistency

Rather than just measuring ink density during the run, this press actually sees color and corrects itself on the fly!  With ‘Continuous Color Calibration’ the machine constantly makes micro adjustments during the print run to keep the tightest color in the industry.  This also improves run to run color consistency.  Repeat orders with exact color matching are easier than ever.

Sustainable Platform

The inks on the press are formed by a mixture of pigment (the consistency of toothpaste) and imaging oil to carry the color.  Previously, this imaging oil was flushed from the press and discarded.  Now, the press recycles its own oil!  Rather than doing an ‘oil change’ periodically, only a small amount of oil is added to the system as needed.

Fluorescent and Metallic Silver Ink

For the first time, true specialty inks are available on a digital press.  This adds to our very wide 7C color gamut to add distinctive color to your label.

More Powerful Variable Data

Want a unique number, barcode, or QR code on each label?  We can do that faster and more accurately than ever.  With a huge computing power upgrade, variable data jobs that previously took hours (and cost more) are now instantaneous.

Supportable for the Future

Built on the latest 2018 technology, this press will be supported for many years.  With parts, service, and training readily available, you have a reliable, consistent source for all your labels.

TLMI Calvin Frost Environmental Leadership Award

TLMI Calvin Frost Environmental Leadership Award

Rose City Label Recognized with TLMI Environmental Leadership Award for 2018

Rose City Label won the Environmental Leadership Award at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the top label printers in America.  This Environmental Leadership Award is given annually to one printer and one supplier based on judging Environmental Leadership Awardthe association environmental community.  The award recognizes specific programs, demonstrated results, and a cultural commitment to the environment.  We are very honored to join the list of past winners and we will never stop on our eco-friendly journey.  This year, the awards were renamed in honor of Calvin Frost – a true environmental leader in the printing industry.  There is nothing better than a cold frosty beer from our customer in the commemorative ‘Frosty 2018’ mug.

Results Matter

Trying hard and having commitment are important, but for the TLMI Environmental Leadership Award, results matter:

  1. Five Year Water Reduction of 47%
  2. Five Year Natural Gas Reduction of 43%
  3. Small reductions in Garbage and Electricity as well

All measures are indexed to manufacturing output as our business has grown considerably in the past 5 years.  Complete details and annual graphs of these measures can be found in this blog post.

Small Things that Every Business Can Apply

Besides these dramatic results, the committee was impressed with the programs and projects the company has championed.  These include:

  1. Encouraging employee bicycle commuting
  2. Providing excess pallets for employee home garden projects
  3. Recycling pallet wrap at the local supermarket
  4. Giving away excess pallets on Craigslist for local projects
  5. Shipping via direct courier service whenever possible
  6. Reusing items in the press room during production runs

More about these innovative programs can be found at these two blog posts click here for part 1 and click here for part 2.

Make Conscious Choices

The final area called out by the judges in this award was a leadership commitment to the environment. This philosophy is baked into the business so deeply that an employee recently lobbied for an electric car charging station – she knew it would align with our values (and with her new car), but also would provide marketing value and would contribute to this award criteria.  All team members know we are focused on the environment.  Some additional major indicators:

  1. Conversion to 100% wind power – read more here
  2. Water wash printing plates – among the first on the West Coast to adopt this system – read more here
  3. Monthly review of eco-metrics along with financial performance

Honoring the Label Eco-Legend – Calvin Frost

Environmental Leadership AwardThis award was particularly important to us since it was renamed in honor of our longtime friend and vendor, Calvin Frost.  Calvin has been the voice of the sustainability movement for decades and his message is finally being heard far and wide in the industry.  Calvin’s company, Channelled Resources, is basically one big recycling business.   For over 40 years, the company has inspected and salvaged potentially damaged product.  This stock would be destined for the landfill if his company didn’t take the time to sort and save the (large percentage) of this material.

Winning this award any year would be great, but to the first ever ‘Frosty’ award winner is even better!

Thank You – Call Us Today

We are ready to help others become more ‘green’.  Any success we have is a team effort and we want to help you on your journey.  Are you just getting started? Or need some pro-level tips?  Please call us today.  If you buy labels, that is fantastic, but we will help any business with a true desire to learn and grow in their eco-journey.  Cheers!

Sustainability RESULTS!

Sustainability RESULTS!

We are very proud of the good work we do to be an eco-friendly company.  Our people care about the earth we share and they are proud to be a part of a company that considers the environment.  Not all projects we start end up with dramatic results, but our eco-efforts certainly do.  Over time, as we have measured and worked, the gains have piled up in all areas.  Please contact us if you have questions.

Results – The Numbers Don’t Lie!

Once we were committed to the green business, we knew we needed to measure our results.  Each month we measure these four eco-measures.  These are indexed to our production – resources consumed per unit of production.  Over the past five years, our business has grown considerably, so our absolute consumption has increased, but on a per unit of production basis, we have made fantastic gains.  Check out these graphs!

Electricity – Down 3% since 2013

Water – Down 47% since 2013

Garbage – Down 7% since 2013

Natural Gas – Down 43% since 2013

Thank You!  We appreciate all your support

We do this all for you, our amazing customers.  Thank you for pushing us to do better every single day. We aren’t done yet – we will continue to work hard to make our company more and more eco friendly into the future.  Are you on the same journey?  Anything we can do to help?  Please call us today, we would love to share more about our programs and the results we have achieved.