Allegra, a local printing and marketing company that operated in downtown Helena for more than 40 years, was sold to a national brand in early 2024.
One of the business's previous owners, Kyle Spencer, confirmed the ownership and name change in an interview.
The business, now known as AlphaGraphics, has been integrated into a franchise chain headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado. AlphaGraphics boasts more than 270 independently owned and operated marketing service providers in 40 states, including existing locations in Bozeman and Missoula.
AlphaGraphics is a subsidiary of the Italian holding company Mail Boxes Etc.
“We'll continue to provide the same services in the same location for the next 40 years,” Spencer said.
The store is located at 40 W. Lawrence St.
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Spencer said many of the same employees remain, including new general manager Jake Heaton, who he said he has worked with for the past eight years.
Mr. Heaton initially handled much of the front desk work and communicated with regular customers, but continued to rise through the ranks as long-time employees retired, eventually taking the GM seat at the beginning of the year. He said he arrived at .
“I've seen every aspect of the business,” he said in a phone interview Tuesday.
He said all employees have transitioned to the new ownership of the print shop.
“We strive to instill in each of our employees that the difference we offer is the people in this building,” he said. “While other services require you to press a button online, we pride ourselves on continuing to work face-to-face with our customers.”
Kyle and Johnette Spencer purchased the business from original owners Tony and Clark Broadbent about 10 years ago.
The business developed lasting relationships with many Helena institutions over the decades.
“When the organization was in trouble, she (Toni Broadbent) was very supportive and allowed us to adjust our finances in terms of working with her,” said Myrna Loy at the time. Executive Director Ed Noonan told the Independent Record in 2014. It has since become a major business sponsor. ”
Mr. Spencer did not disclose the sale price of the business, but said there was approximately $2 million worth of printing equipment included in the sale.
Spencer urged the sale, saying he was ready to retire.
He said he considered his business' deep ties to the community when searching for a buyer.
“There's no question we took pride in finding the right buyer,” he says, adding that existing employees were hired to maintain the small-town level of service the print shop has built its reputation on. He was keen to retain his staff.
Heaton said the printing plant has “a basement full of production equipment,” but Alpha Graphics can leverage its larger parent company to produce products that require more niche equipment. He said that it has become like this.
“This is a great network for us to be a part of,” he said.
Nolan Lister is a reporter for the Helena Independent Record, specializing in local government.