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McKinney Success Story: Popular Ink Just Keeps Flowing

Photos by Fred Mahusay of Fredshots Photography

(page 1 of 4)

Any concerns that the American entrepreneurial spirit may be waning are dashed after spending an hour with Dru Riess and Ray Salinas of McKinney-based Popular Ink.

These two have taken a flexible-graphics printing company that was sinking fast and transformed it into a burgeoning success in just five short years. Working from a 10,000-square-foot warehouse in a quiet patch of McKinney’s northern reaches, President/CEO Riess and Executive Vice President/CFO Salinas have authored a remarkable rags-to-riches story.

Flexible-graphics printing, the eye-catching art on sports drink and nutritional supplement packaging, and much more, is a $29 billion industry in the United States alone. And Riess and Salinas have mastered a method that positions them to get a nice slice of it, with several Fortune 100 clients now in their stable.

“We could write a book about this,” says Riess, 29. “It’s crazy.”

In 2007, the company, then known as Flex-Pac, was turning about $35,000 per month in sales while mired in $400,000 in debt. Today, the Popular Ink team has stabilized the business and positioned it for significant growth for years to come.

Salinas, 30, suggests they did it with “diligence” and “perseverance” – nice words for working one’s tail off, which is what they did. They also credit the good Lord, some luck, and valuable relationships with some of McKinney’s most successful business leaders.

Salinas majored in biomedical engineering at Louisiana Tech, with core concentrations in both mechanical and electrical engineering. Riess has a business administration degree from the University of Cincinnati. He majored in entrepreneurship.

Derek McAllister, 36, Popular Ink’s first press operator and now Director of Printing, says Salinas and Riess make a formidable team. “Dru goes after it aggressively and Ray kind of analyzes it. You need those two types of minds to build a business.”

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