PRINTING United Alliance is grateful to serve its members who make such significant impacts on the printing industry. Through our membership spotlights, we continue to recognize our members, and help our community get to know their peers professionally and personally. The following is a Q&A with Fahim Mojawalla, owner of Island Ship Center (ISC) in Grand Island, New York.
Can you please provide a brief history/background on your company?
We launched our company in 2006 in the Buffalo, NY suburb of Grand Island, as an eCommerce retailer selling personalized leather gifts. Today, that eCommerce operation has evolved into Island Ship Center--a seven-figure business set in a 3000 square foot location, with five employees, providing gift products, printing services, shipping, mailbox, fulfillment, and storage to an international, national, regional, and local customer base. We credit our success to our Company mission of “Making the Mundane Extraordinary” and providing clients with unforgettable experiences in the print and shipping industry.
How and when did you enter the printing industry?
Truthfully, in 2015 our business was at a point where we needed to expand our services to increase our customer base or consider closing. We read about a retail shipping expo in Las Vegas and decided to go and see if we could find a way to grow our business. We agreed that if we didn’t find any solutions there, we would return home and close our doors. At the time we had no employees. So, we emailed all of our clients that we were temporarily closing our store for one week to go to this expo. And to stay tuned! As it turned out, we met so many people and learned so much about the printing industry that we were rejuvenated beyond belief. We felt as if we had finally found what we were looking for in order to be able to grow our business.
Are there markets or industries outside of your traditional offerings you are looking to add or have added? If so, what?
Outside of our traditional offerings we have added e-commerce fulfillment, 3PL (third party logistics) and printing industry consulting.
What would you say have been your company’s biggest accomplishments and challenges?
• Hosted one of three regional industry events in America at our store in 2017.
• Expanded to a 24-hour service operation with our newly constructed business center and mailbox space in 2016.
• Expanded warehouse drop-off services for Canadian (cross-border) market.
• Increased print business 10% annually since 2017.
• Printing, print/graphic services now represent more than 50% of business.
• Hosting one of three regional industry events in America at our store in September of 2023.
Our greatest challenge has been that we are a small business in a bedroom community. Companies in this area of Western New York are not known for expanding, let alone becoming nationally/internationally known. In facing that challenge, we decided to develop a relationship with every individual/organization/company who walked through our door and within our community. Part of that was taking the time to learn their problems relative to our services, and then finding solutions for them. Our greatest solutions became our greatest opportunities for raising awareness of our company and business growth.
What are future goals for your operation and where do you see your company headed in five years?
• Organic growth in the print for pay space on national state and local levels.
• Increased market share in printing/graphic design services throughout the Buffalo Niagara Region.
• Helping other owners in our industry grow their businesses.
Why did you decide to join the Alliance and what resources do you plan to utilize through your membership?
We joined the Alliance for the great opportunities it provides to connect with print business owners, vendors, and industry experts across the country through the yearly conferences. We also appreciate the online classes for graphic and printing services and utilize them fully.
What activities/hobbies do you enjoy in your free time?
• Vice President of ISC, Fahim Mojawalla likes to travel, play tennis, go swimming and horseback riding.
• President of ISC, Seema Mojawalla likes to garden and go horseback riding.
For more information about Island Ship Center, visit their website at https://www.islandshipcenter.com/.