Few things can tell a community’s story better than its business residents’ insights. This is why we created the “Why Midlothian?” series.
In this series, Midlothian companies share their experiences, observations and impressions about why Midlothian has proven a great fit for their business needs. We hope their stories will inspire you to consider how you can make something great with us in Midlothian.
A Conversation With … Ron Graham, Vice President, Ennis, Inc., Midlothian, TX
“Our experience, thus far, has fulfilled all the things we wanted it to fulfill relative to commutable distance, readily available staff to hire and proximity to airports.”
Ennis, Inc. (NYSE:EBF) was founded in 1909 as a single print shop operating in Ennis, Texas. Now with more than 6,400 employees serving over 40,000 distributors worldwide and over 60 locations across North America, Ennis is a leading manufacturer and supplier of print and apparel products for the wholesale trade. For over 105 years, Ennis has been an industry leader offering high-quality products, reliable service and innovative solutions. To learn more, visit www.ennis.com.
Midlothian Economic Development: Tell us a little about your business?
Ennis Inc.: Our company offers print services to distributors of print. We make forms, tags, labels and do commercial printing of all kinds. We have plants in 39 states in the U.S., all located in small communities. We sell under many different brands (for others to white label). We’re a wholesale printer. About 40 to 50 percent of our company is in apparel and that’s primarily T-shirts. The apparel manufacturers are in Mexico and distribute to Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. We have 4,000 employees in Mexico.
MED: Tell us about your role?
EI: I am the chief human resource officer of the company. I handle the people side of the business, as well as all the benefits and things related to hiring.
MED: How long has your company been located in Midlothian?
EI: Ennis has been located in Midlothian since 2006. We were previously located in Ennis, Texas. At that time, we had 11 different locations. When Keith Walters, CEO, was hired, he wanted to expand the company back into the distributor market and broaden distribution efforts. We needed to be closer to Dallas for travel purposes, and people started thinking of us as a corporate headquarters rather than a branch. We knew we had to build a corporate headquarters outside of Ennis.
We looked at Midlothian, Waxahachie, and other places in Dallas County. We chose Midlothian, not necessarily because it had the best economic package, but because of location — the people being headquartered in Midlothian were still working in Ennis, Texas, and we wanted it to be a reasonable commute to those people. We liked the Midlothian region, and the opportunity in terms of space and our location.
MED: How would you characterize your overall experience in Midlothian?
EI: Our experience, thus far, has fulfilled all the things we wanted it to fulfill relative to commutable distance, readily available staff to hire and proximity to airports. Some of our vendors and customers fly in. We like the community and enjoy being there.
MED: Why is Midlothian a good place to do business?
EI: The educational systems in Midlothian are outstanding. The people of Midlothian are wonderful people. We enjoy exploring the city and restaurants. Everyone knows us and knows our orders — it’s nice to have that familiarity of who we are and what we do.
MED: What types of resources and support are offered by the city?
EI: The development of hotels and restaurants is a good thing for us. It will cause people to visit and stay in the community. We will use the hotel extensively when it opens because we currently use the Waxahachie hotel. We look forward to switching to Midlothian.
MED: Do you think the city/MED has a good communication framework in place for businesses?
EI: At any time, I can pick up the phone and call Larry with MED, the mayor or the Chamber of Commerce. And if I had a particular issue that I wanted to address, they would address it. That’s one of the important things about living in a community like Midlothian — they’re responsive and understanding.
MED: What kind of workforce does your company require? Does the Midlothian workforce meet these needs?
EI: Most of the positions here are administrative-type positions — accounting, clerks, credit collections, etc. Our IT department is about a dozen people. We run all of our payroll from this office. The largest single group would be our credit collections department. We have a marketing department that provides services to all locations (graphic designer, marketing managers, ad agency-esque, brand managers).
MED: How would you describe the Midlothian community?
EI: I grew up in a small town, so the Midlothian community is perfect. You know people, they know you and we take care of each other. You run into your friends wherever you go. You don’t have the impersonal situations you have in larger cities. It’s an honor to be a part of these communities.