Panther Graphics has served the printing needs of Rochester, New York for 28 years. And UPS has been a partner for every one of them.
“Our relationship with UPS goes all the way back to the beginning,” said Tony Jackson, founder of Panther Graphics, one of six Black-owned businesses spotlighted as part of UPS’s Proudly Unstoppable small business initiative. “It has been an integral part of our success.
Tony believes character, morale, and values are the foundation of his small business.
“I have a team-oriented company,” he said. “Saying it is the easy part … you have to live it.”
UPS is proud to help this team, and other businesses like them, continue to create a vibrant future for themselves. The Proudly Unstoppable effort is a result of that outreach and a natural extension of the Be Unstoppable small business campaign … bringing to life UPS’s purpose of moving our world forward by delivering what matters.
“This has been great,” Tony said. “To be a part of a marketing program with a company of UPS’s size and stature, for them to be committed to it, the synergies created when a company like UPS mentors and makes small businesses a partner is important.”
While the program’s positive momentum is encouraging, the effects of a global pandemic have been all too real. For Tony and his team, it tested the company’s resilience.
“We lost over 50% of our business at the beginning of the pandemic,” Tony said. “A big part of what we do is printing for schools, events, trade shows, etc., and it all went away. We had some weeks where there was no work. With 25 employees, we dug in and looked for other lanes. Printing on jackets, caps, and masks started to take off. We started seeing new customers coming to us, began printing food labels for example, we were able to stay open as an essential business.”
The team takes a lot of pride in being a company the entire Rochester community supports.
“After starting the company, there was a different sense of responsibility,” Tony said. “The Black community is proud of our success, but the entire city has rallied around us.”
Artist and fellow SMB owner Sophia Yeshi -- who created Proudly Unstoppable artwork for UPS Express boxes -- has a similar perspective on community support.
“The message to Black-owned businesses is that there is support out there, and there are people who want to shop with Black-owned businesses. A lot of the time it’s about finding them,” Sophia explained. “With an initiative like this encouraging people to do so … it’s a great way for UPS to use its power to bring a spotlight on (those) businesses as well.”
As Tony puts it, staying power and managing the business properly have kept Panther Graphics relevant, but Tony never strays far from giving his employees the credit.
“I can’t say enough about my team. We would not have made it without them.”
To learn more, visit the Proudly Unstoppable landing page and look for additional small business profiles during Black History Month.
“To be a part of a marketing program with a company of UPS’s size and stature, for them to be committed to it, the synergies created when a company like UPS mentors and makes small businesses a partner is important.”