Business

PCI Communications wins Manatee Small Business of the Year in $250,000 to $1 million category

PCI Communications owner Valerie Longo makes remarks after receiving her award. The 37th Annual Manatee Small Business of the Year awards were handed out at a luncheon Friday at IMG Academy Golf Club.
PCI Communications owner Valerie Longo makes remarks after receiving her award. The 37th Annual Manatee Small Business of the Year awards were handed out at a luncheon Friday at IMG Academy Golf Club. Special to the Herald

In the digital age, everything seems to be available at the touch of a button – new clothes, concert tickets, e-mail, even newspapers – which makes it easy to forget there are still those who prefer or are in need of a printed product.

PCI Communications Inc. is available to accommodate your printing needs, and the company has been doing just that in Florida and Manatee County for more than 40 years.

In fact, PCI Communications has been so successful that it was voted Manatee Small Business of the Year for 2016 in the $250,000 to $1 million category.

The business has been owned by Lenny and Valerie Longo for more than nine years, and they have helped PCI Communications navigate through some tough economic times that have hit printing companies especially hard.

Both were left almost speechless after finding out they had been chosen.

“I don’t know what to say ... thank you so much,” Valerie Longo said after accepting the award at Friday’s ceremony at IMG Academy Golf Club.

“I’m only here because I have a wonderful wife,” said Lenny Longo, a comment that was meant with universal approval from the crowd of more than 300.

PCI Communications serves more than 200 communities, providing them with annual phone directories. The directories are particularly popular with 55-over communities, helping residents feel more connected to their neighbors.

Those directories are also great sources for advertising, and that allows PCI Communications to work with local small businesses to better reach their older clientele. Unfortunately, that advertising took a major dive when the economy slowed in 2009, leading to a 30 percent drop in advertising revenue.

Then, in 2010, changes were made regarding what resident information could be put in printed directories. That led to a loss in number of clients.

That kind of double whammy is difficult for any business to overcome, but PCI Communications was able to stay afloat by controlling costs, including moving to a more cost-efficient location, and persevering until business started to turn around in 2013.

With the business thriving again, PCI Communications has looked to expand its reach through charitable work with organizations like the DeSoto Historical Foundation, Family Partnership Center, Kiwanis and Military Family Support Trust.

“We are continuously creating different avenues to expand our business,” Valerie Longo said in PCI’s application for Small Business of the Year. “One of the most recent growth opportunities has been our partnership with the Early Learning Coalition to develop and produce their bi-monthly magazine, NextGen. ... We have been able to expand our capabilities and grow our business network in many ways.”

PCI Communications is also developing a new online version into their growth strategy. Add one more thing to the list of items you will be able to find with the touch of a button.

Alan Bellittera: 941-745-7011, @AlanBell35

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