TGI Direct History - The Last 50 Years

  • 1964-1988
  • 1990-1999
  • 2000-2008
  • Current

Our history is one of growth and resiliency based on our constant focus of saving our Client’s time, saving our Client’s money, and helping them make money.  We now call this optimizing! In 1964, Tom Ryan and Chuck Redman then of Curtis Printing founded Tuar (Redman and Ryan) to help AC Spark Plug package and distribute their corporate communications and promotional materials to their 88,000 distributors – primarily gas stations, dealerships, and distributors in those days.  They founded Tuar as a mailing, packaging, warehousing, and distribution company. Buick Motor Division was added in the late 60’s when they were looking for similar service including retail mail order support.  General Motors and Delphi are still valued Clients of the company today.

In 1973, Tuar was purchased by Don Bacon.  In the following year Don went on to co-found Grimbac with data specialist Jim Grim in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Grimbac offered Clients the additional services of programming, data base development, list maintenance, offset printing, and variable data printing. The Mott Foundation and the newly formed GM Parts Division of General Motors were among the first clients. In 1979 Doug Bacon, the son of the owner, joined the company as the Vice President of Grimbac.  Doug fell in love with direct marketing, and drove the company in new directions surrounding that rapidly growing market.  The company was combined into a single entity called Tuar- Grimbac Inc. in 1981, and a new division was opened in Denver in 1982 called Colorado Data Mail.  In 1988, Doug Bacon, purchased Tuar-Grimbac Inc. from the family, and divested the Denver division.  Doug also purchased Bowmann Printing, a small sheet fed printer in Addison, Michigan as well as purchasing the data conversion and data entry activities of the Kelly Services office based in Flint, Michigan.

In 1990, Tuar-Grimbac purchased Johnson Mayhew Graphics, a small sheet fed printer with a specialty in creative and package graphics in Flint, Michigan.  In 1993, Tuar Grimbac became an open book company, and began sharing financials with all of the employees.  At the same time, employees became Associates. Under Doug’s leadership several of the members of Tuar-Grimbac’s Management team took on the formal study of Total Quality Management systems.  This resulted in 4 months of training in QS and ISO systems, the adoption of ISO as Tuar-Grimbac’s formal quality system – ISO. Tuar-Grimbac adopted ISO not because of an outside requirement, but the Management team and Associates believed that the improved customer satisfaction, and the money saved from eliminating errors would more than pay for the investment.  In 1997, the Associates chose NSF as the certified registrar to administer the first full company compliance audit.  TGI was certified as an ISO 9002 company in 1997.  

Tuar-Grimbac joined the Communications Alliance Network LLC (CAN) with Frye Printing, McKay Press, Monarch Press and Standard Printing and Office Supply in1998. This partnership was formed as a group buying organization as well as a cooperative of sorts focused on sharing resources and expertise.

In 2000, as a result of strategic planning Tuar-Grimbac Inc, became TGI Direct.  The new name kept a little bit of the old, and added the “Direct” moniker to really highlight the corporate focus on “Direct”, one-to-one communications.  

In 2001 TGI Direct published, and launched, the first web based modules of “The Client Zone(T) – a web portal designed to provide a centralized control system and dashboard for which allowed enterprise level Clients to have control and visibility over their physical and electronic assets.  The Client Zone System was designed to help these Clients with their communications, distribution, and reporting.

In 2002, TGI Direct joined the Independent Printers Worldwide LLC (IPW), a billion dollar  partnership of print related  companies with a focus on improved buying capacity, optimized purchasing methodology of common core resources and supplies, and also providing solutions for large enterprise Clients where national and international support was sometimes required for optimized support.

In 2004, TGI Direct acquired Best Images, one of the largest digital printers in Michigan.  Best Images had a deep history in educational printing, and no experience in variable data printing.  TGI Direct had great strength in one-to-one communications, but lacked the digital horsepower to deliver at a higher level.  The match allowed TGI Direct to expand at a higher level into the educational and digital printing environment, and it also also allowed TGI Direct to expand the 1-2-1 personalization business.

In 2005, the Management Team authorized the purchase of TGI Direct’s first high speed full color digital press – the HP 3050 Indigo press.  The 5 color device was acquired to support and optimize one-to-one direct marketing programs required by larger enterprise Clients.  

In 2008, the Management Team continued their acquisition strategy through the purchase of  RC Mailing, a financial services mailing company specifically focused on credit unions.  The synergy of the two companies allowed Clients to take advantage of TGI Direct’s advanced document management systems, and TGI Direct’s state of the art data security, imaging, and high speed match inserting systems.  An extension of this was the development of TGI Direct’s TransPromo products.   
2009 to present.

Now, with four facilities in southeast Michigan and more than 100 dedicated, highly-trained associates, TGI Direct continues its 50-year tradition of providing its clients with a diverse range of traditional and digital communication tools. We are proud of our record of producing 35 million variable print pieces, over 25 million packages shipped, 500 million direct mail pieces processed, and executing 2.5 million email campaigns. We’ve partnered with 14 of the world’s largest brands, and maintain more than 30 e-commerce sites. Today’s ever-evolving marketing environment demands a company that can rise to the challenges of the 21st century. TGI Direct is willing to take on that challenge with you as we continue to flourish for years to come.