Warshall retires, sells business

Michael Warshall, executive director for multi-award winning Nulab Group is retiring 37 years after he started the business, and selling most of it to regional Victoria-based photo printer HC Pro, for an undisclosed sum.

The Nulab Professional Imaging operations will move to Horsham, the HC Pro location in regional Victoria, over the Christmas period.

HC Pro was established by Brian Murray as Horsham Colour in 1968. Current owner and managing director Bruce Wilson bought the business from Murray four years ago.

[Related: Warshall wins ProPrint Power 50]

Wilson says, “We are acquiring Nulab Professional Imaging and NuShots, they are the two major brands that ordering is done through. Nulab Imaging is for the professional side whereas NuShots receives the consumer side.” HC is not buying Nulab Media – Warshall’s non-photo printing business  – nor Picpress which produces a range of products for photographers.

Wilson says, “We heard Michael was considering retirement, we contacted him and put a proposal to him. He accepted. He seems keen to spend time with his grandchild and his family and to take a break. We are both of the same view that the professional print market in Australia is shrinking and that some companies will have to eventually converge.

“We are not changing much. Michael has done a good job with branding, we are actually hoping that HC Pro will change more to follow suit.

“From a production point of view, we do not have the capacity for all the staff and we will have to absolve some of Nulab’s workers. We will collaborate with The Edge – another Melbourne photo printer –  and there is an opportunity for some of Nulab’s staff there. But others will lose their positions unfortunately.

“We produce all that Nulab produces except acrylics, which we now have the chance to do. We are not taking equipment we already have from Nulab because we would run out of space, rather we are focusing on merging our customers.

“Michael has been a significant contributor to the industry and we hope to follow in his footsteps. He is committed to staying and providing a smooth transition to his customers and communicating to them fully. I guess once he is satisfied, he will step away.”

[Related: Nulab wins 8 US awards]

Warshall has just topped the vote for the 2017 ProPrint Power 50 Innovation and Influence, coming in at number one, thanks to his work with HP Indigo, which has seen the Israeli print engine able to print digital photo images at the same quality as silver halide.

For the past three years, Warshall has been investing time in Israel with physicists and chemists at HP Indigo, in order to enable digital printing at silver halide photo quality. This triggered the creation of a new LLK ink made especially for Indigo presses. The ink was finally completed earlier this year, and Warshall says it has completely changed digital printing, with other companies around the world using it. Nulab was the first photo lab in the world to fully convert from silver halide to HP Indigo printing.

Warshall also launched the new layflat Nuovo Albums, a full page spread photo album with splicing that does not create cracks in the centre, another world first for Australia.

Additionally, Warshall released Nulab’s Enviropix range of photo paper, the first of its kind in Australia, providing what he says is a benchmark in clarity and quality in photo printing. Both Nuovo and Enviropix will be marketed around the world.

This year Nulab dominated the American Premier Print Awards taking home eight awards, including a Benny for best of digital printing, beating 2200 other entries to claim the prize. He also took home five awards at the National Print Awards in Melbourne in May. 

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