Image 2000, a document services company in business for 25 years and based in Santa Clarita for a year, is thriving amid the evolution from paper to pixels.
Based in the Valencia Industrial Center, the company has 140 employees, including close to 60 at its headquarters on Huntington Lane near Avenue Stanford. The company also has offices in Fresno, Bakersfield, Orange County, Lakewood, the Inland Empire, and Las Vegas.
“We started out servicing copiers and printers, and as the technology has evolved, we’ve become more involved in cloud-based computing and digital technology,” said founder and CEO Joe Blatchford.
As it has been for most of the company’s existence, the trend toward electronic documents keeps accelerating, he said. “You can scan a document once, and share it in a number of ways, through email, as a file on a hard drive, or in a workflow management system.”
Still, some technologies that you might expect to find in a museum continue to find a niche. “You’d be surprised how many people still use fax machines,” Blatchford said, noting that pharmacies continue to use them. Printed paper copies remain popular for color copies of full-color documents.
The company services all brands of printers, copiers and fax machines, and Blatchford said there’s not much difference among companies’ hardware.
What is changing is the software that drives machines. Many machines can be controlled via a smartphone app. “And I’ve seen things at trade shows like a voice-activated Alexa-type feature, where you walk up to the machine, put your document in the feeder and tell it to print 20 copies, stapled. There’s also a virtual assistant who pops up when you approach the machine to help you with an almost physical presence.”
The company’s clients include Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, College of the Canyons, and the Saugus School District. “At the hospital, we take care of 400 machines, mostly printers and copiers, and still some fax machines. We have a person who is physically at the hospital on a full-time basis.”
Image 2000 just picked up another health care client in Adventist Health, with 21 hospitals and 80 ancillary facilities. “We beat out Xerox to get that contract,” Blatchford said. With hospitals, HIPAA compliance is huge. We’re dealing with documents that may contain patient information in the feeder trays of copiers, in the trash, and on hard drives.”
The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 regulates data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information.
One client took security measures to a whole new level. “We had a contract at Edwards Air Force Base at a unit so secure that they put our technician in a wheelchair and put a hood over his head,” Blatchford said. “An escort carried a lantern as a signal that this was an outsider and to not speak in front of him. The copier was in a windowless room. Our theory is that we were in Area 51.”
Last year, Image 2000 bought a building appraised at $2.9 million, expanding its warehouse capacity to 22,500 square feet from space that was more than 5,000 square feet smaller. The added space adds capacity for its inventory of copier/printer/scanner/fax machines, as well as to house its local workforce.
“We wanted more warehouse space than we could get in Van Nuys, which lacked quality warehouse space for a reasonable price,” said Blatchford. “And there’s a better quality of life in Santa Clarita.”
The company’s 40 factory-trained technicians cover territory from Ventura down to the San Diego border, and out to Palm Springs.
The move also had a side benefit for Blatchford, a Santa Clarita resident since 1989: “a seven-minute commute, my friend, a seven-minute commute.” That’s down from a commute that typically ran 35-45 minutes each way, or as long as 90 minutes when traffic was particularly horrible, he said.
As the company celebrates its 25th anniversary in September, it’s looking to become more active in the community, he said. “We’re involved with the Boys and Girls Club, and want to expand on that.”
The company will continue to focus on the medical market. “Even through the 2008 recession, there wasn’t even a blip in terms of business dropping off in that market,” Blatchford said.