A Historic Past and Bright Future
The history of American retail is one of constant change. From humble beginnings in a local garage to 400,000 sq. feet of creative, production, and distribution power, Pratt has mirrored the growth and innovation of the industry. Explore Pratt's evolution below.
1946 A Colonel and A Vision
Anticipating the post-war rise of the consumer, Ryland "The Colonel" Pratt saw an opportunity to get into the outdoor advertising business. With a history in the printing business, he officially founded Pratt Poster Company in Indianapolis, IN with his three sons.
1946 Get Your Letter Banners Here!
The Colonel pioneered banners consisting of 19" tall block letters attached to 50-foot ropes. They were silk screened in the shop and hemmed by neighborhood women with two Singer sewing machines. These letter banners, along with silk-screened posters and custom outdoor banners, formed the backbone of Pratt's business.
1958 Go to Pratt to Get it Done
Pratt became a preferred vendor for companies in the oil, automotive, and fast food industries and soon occupied three downtown Indianapolis buildings. We ordered DuPont Tyvek material by the mile. Once, we even bought out an entire factory's supply of fiberglass.
1960 The Dawn of the Hula Skirt
Pork rinds and fishing don't normally lead to innovation and success and in most cases, just the opposite. But when Ryland Pratt's started to make plastic film die-cut pieces to resemble a pork rind fishing lure, that's exactly what happened. While his fishing idea didn't bring in the big one, he discovered that he could make innovative pennant shapes and designs with this same idea. The most successful and enduring was the Hula pennant, with its Hawaiian skirt inspired fringes.
1961 The Printer Plants his Flag
Pratt sowed the seeds for future growth when Ryland Pratt, Jr. designed and built new offices and a plant at 3001 E. 30th Street, in the heart of Indianapolis. Although we've since moved, housing all services under one roof remains a defining characteristic for Pratt even today, adding to efficiencies, time savings, and cost benefits for our clients.
1969 Growing up Retail
As the American retail industry grew, stores saw the importance of communicating their products to shoppers through compelling displays and graphics. Pratt constantly re-tooled its offering to meet the needs of its clients, knowing that another retail philosophy was key: customer service.
1982 The Lowes Partnership
Pratt began to create signage packages for a forward-thinking North Carolina hardware chain that knew the future was not simply hardware, but home improvement. Three decades and 1700 big box stores later, our Lowes partnership is stronger than ever. If you walk into a Lowes and look up, you will see our work.
1993 Not a Piece, But the Whole Project
Computerization and digital technologies revolutionized the screen-printing industry. Pratt saw an opening to not only provide customers with more targeted digital printing, but to develop and manage store graphics remodeling efforts all the way from concept to install. These store décor programs remain at the heart of our business today as we execute site-specific rollout programs for some of the world's largest retailers including Lowes and Walmart.
2003 Pratt Gets Lean and Green
In order to better serve our customers, Pratt embraced the Lean business philosophy, which helps reduce wastes in all aspects of production and management. This has led to increased costs savings for clients and better profitability for Pratt. In order to better serve our earth, Pratt has become a sustainable company. We continue to improve our green practices and build environmentally related partnerships.
2004 Designing the World of Retail
Growth in our creative and design services department area has led to clients such as Hhgregg, Shoe Carnival, FedEx Kinko's, Sunoco, Circle K, and Firestone. Today, Pratt's Retail Studio designs graphics and displays that physically and emotionally move shoppers throughout a store.
2005 Relocation and Donation
We consolidated our entire operation into one central location to more efficiently serve our clients - from our offices to our production floor, from warehousing to kit packing. But we didn't just pack up and sell the old place. We donated it to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The building now houses one of the state's largest philanthropic food pantries and serves thousands each week.
2008 Midwest Goes Global
Beginning in 2007, Pratt started to service international clients, including Lowe's Canada and FedEx Kinkos. Pratt has also formed strategic partnerships with global companies to create a network of industry specialists for cross-border projects that require more than just a US-based company. This network is known as Brand Circle.
2009 It's a Customized Era
The retail world used to be about mass uniformity, with every store fitting one template. The new era is less rigid, more customized. Marketers want each store to mold to the surrounding environment and lifestyles of its shoppers. Pratt understands this and designs site-specific rollouts, whether it's one location or an entire chain.
2010 Pratt in a New Light
Pratt restructured its units to clarify who we are - Store Décor, Shopper POP, and Retail Studio. It's a new day. A new company. And a new brand that embodies who we are.
Pratt: Retail that Moves You. Our logo represents Pratt as a multi-faceted resource that adds life, vitality, and motion to all points and all levels of the retail store experience.