A Letter to Impact Austin
Hello Impact Austin Friends-
Though I am a new member of Impact Austin, Miller IDS has always been a supporter of the Central Texas community. I have found in recent years that donating printing to good causes – and this is a great one! – can have a bigger impact on a charitable organization than offering an equivalent cash donation. Impact Austin is a group I heard about in its early years, but did not get involved until this year. I’m in a fairly male-dominated field and I LOVE seeing strong women work together to further the goals of others. As I raised my daughter in Eanes ISD, I saw so many brilliant, capable women who had stopped their careers to raise their children.
I feel that Impact Austin is a great way for both women who work outside the home and those that work in the home to join together and show off what we are all made of.
It’s an interesting to be writing about our company and business in this time of a pandemic. I’m a third generation Miller to own and run Miller IDS, with a fourth generation involved as well. My grandparents opened the business in 1920, just after the Spanish flu epidemic, and not too far ahead of the Great Depression. My dad experienced the recession of the late 1980s which was painful, and while I’ve already managed through the 2008-2010 recession, I’d say this will probably end up being the biggest downturn in the business in my adult work life. We’ve seen shifts in business just in the six weeks that we’ve been dealing with COVID, and it will be extremely interesting for all of us to see what shifts remain as long-term impacts.
Miller IDS is, in short, a printing company, but for over 100 years, we have adapted to our clients’ changing needs. We have served construction-related industries for print needs since the beginning of the business, and always had some other main business line as well. We produced street maps and aerial photos of Austin for decades until maps were replaced by Google; we sold drafting supplies until they were replaced by computer-aided drafting; photographic processes when copy machines were not available to make scale changes, and on and on. About seven years ago we started getting more serious about printing for consumers and retail businesses and have been growing substantially in the area since. We have been offering large format printers to our customers for some time and, in the last couple of years, have also become a good partner for small format printers, selling Xerox and Epson printers in addition to the big HP guys that we’ve been placing for a decade.
Changes we’ve seen already in this pandemic: Due to CodeNext and its visibility, you might know enough about our City of Austin planning department to be pleased that this COVID pandemic and quarantine have done one positive thing for the City planning review, and that is to force change allowing for digital file submission. This is something other cities have done for years, and Austin has now caught up! Previously, we and others like us would do heavy printing and provide the City with paper copies for review. So, we are happy that Austin reacted quickly and, I believe successfully, in this shift. Another less positive change is that construction printing continues, but our consumer, event and marketing business is at a stand-still. I think it is important to remind myself and others in the community that you can’t stop advertising or branding during this downturn. It’s easy to assess marketing as not essential, but truthfully, isn’t marketing and branding always important and relevant? I’ve noticed higher readership on our newsletter now that folks are not rushing around with their crazy schedules. So, if you run a business, don’t forget to put yourself out there to make some lasting connections with your market!
Luci Miller, President & Owner, Miller IDS
Impact Austin, Class of 2020
A 3rd-generation family owner, Luci Miller values her role as the steward of this landmark Austin company. She’s a graduate of Austin High School and UT Austin, and a proud supporter of the vibrant culture that makes this innovative city continually thrive.
This post was sponsored by Miller Imaging & Digital Solutions.