So much can happen to a business within a 30-year span, and for Access Labels those years have meant an incredible amount of growth, experience and success.
From Access Labels’ humble beginnings housed in a small space with only two employees, the company has since become Atlantic Canada’s largest professional label printer employing more than 45 skilled workers—some of whom have been with the company from the start—dedicated to providing quality service and product for its many clients.
Founded in 1993 in Amherst, Nova Scotia by owner and President Paul Carr, Access Labels has maintained its commitment to detail and timely delivery throughout its impressive decades of service, while offering flexibility and specialization in printing styles for a variety of products in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean Islands. “Whether our customers require labels for wine, beer, cheese, maple syrup, drugs, supplements, nutraceuticals, meat or poultry, or the ability to print labels in-house, Access Labels has the capability and knowledge to create what our customers require to meet their expectations,” says Carr.
Whether the labels require the ability to be added to frozen products, withstand the outdoor environment or are just for common applications, Access Labels can expertly deliver both generic and custom designs to help personalize each product. Access Labels can provide many types of labels including laser sheets, Coupons, Point of Sale, Linerless Labels, Merchandising, thermal transfer and direct thermal blank labels for in-house printing. The company offers both Flexo printing for larger volume products as well as Digital Printing for short run labels capable of producing Variable and Sequential numbering as well as bar codes.
“As a proud member of United Grocers, Inc., PAC, GS1 Canada, and Atlantic Food and Beverage Processors Association Inc., Access Labels can manufacture a wide variety of products with the required specifications to meet our clients’ demands,” says Carr.
“I started the company by purchasing the assets of a company that was closing and relocated it to a small rented space along with one full-time and one part-time employee,” he explains. “It was a scary venture considering I had no previous business or sales experience, not to mention not knowing anything about the label business. With long hours and the determination to succeed, I managed to continue to grow the company to what it is today,” he shares.
“This could not have happened if I hadn’t surrounded myself with so many wonderful people whose teamwork and dedication make it a great company. Then, where would we be if it were not for all the great customers who have been our partners throughout our journey over the years and who continue to support us? I still have customers who have been supporting Access Labels for 30 years who are not only business partners, but good friends,” Carr says.
“Access Labels being a family-owned business has given us the ability to be different than most companies,” he continues. “With our ability to be flexible to meet customer challenges, whether it be a rush label for a new product or a custom design, we are there for our customers. The Access Labels team prides itself on being able to offer both long run products on our Flexo Presses or short run products on our state of the art Digital Presses with faster turnarounds, without the need for printing plates.”
Much has changed for Access Labels during the last couple of years, with new business growth in the United States and the Caribbean Islands. “Prashant Parekh, whom I have known for more than 15 years, joined the company and has become the driving force of our success in promoting Access Labels’ marketing in the U.S., Caribbean Islands and Canada,” says Carr. “With Prashant’s commitment and experience, I see continuing growth for Access Labels, which will add more future full-time employment for the local economy.”
And more growth is on the horizon via a $750,000 investment to support expansion through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA) Regional Economic Growth through its Innovation program. By assisting businesses in becoming more innovative, competitive, and productive, collaborating with diverse communities to build and diversify local economies, and promoting Atlantic Canada’s strengths, ACOA seeks to open up opportunities for economic growth in the area.
“For Access Labels, these funds will allow us to invest in more specialized equipment to expand our existing product line and give us the ability to add more value to our existing products by being able to add foil stamping, embossing, special varnishes, raised lettering and much more,” Carr explains. “This will also increase our efficiency and the ability to turn around product faster. This assistance from ACOA will increase our ability to take on additional clients while helping to achieve the goal of increasing exports to the U.S. market. ACOA has been a fantastic supporter of Access Labels for more than 25 years and has played a major role in our success with its continuing support.”
While Access Labels’ products are used mainly in the food industry, it has customers in the logistics, pharmaceutical and industrial arenas. “We also offer printers, ribbons and service for in-house printing for customers who want to print on demand,” says Carr.
“As you know, growth does not come without challenges!” he says. “Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, it has certainly created more than its share of challenges. Raw material shortages and increased costs for both raw material and transportation (which in some cases have more than doubled for both manufacturers and customers) have caused the cost of goods to increase. Labour is and will continue to be a challenge for not only Access Labels but for all companies as the demand for skilled workers continues,” Carr says.
“Fortunately for Access Labels, we have a strong customer partner base as well as good suppliers who continue to support us and a dedicated workforce wanting to meet our customer demands. Although I expect the overall situation for raw material shortages and costs as well as transportation costs to improve, it will still be some time before we see the sort of normal that we had been accustomed to before the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Despite these challenges, Access Labels will continue to grow and expand its customer base and increase its market penetration in the coming years. “Although we need to be cautious in our approach to grow, I believe we must continue to invest in both our people and in expanding our capabilities for the continuing success of Access Labels.”
And while 30 years is certainly good reason to celebrate, Carr sees no reason to stop the continuing success of Access Labels.
In the meantime, Access Labels will continue to provide the exemplary service and products it’s known for to its highly valued customers through its commitment to flexibility and turning things around quickly.
“We think of our customers, employees and suppliers as partners,” Carr emphasizes. We want to be part of the journey with them whether it be in bad times or good. Our partners are our success!!!”