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Business

AlphaGraphics in Wheaton celebrates 30th anniversary

Barb Kohout (left) and her husband, Frank, are the owners of AlphaGraphics in Wheaton, where their daughter, Christine Fenne (right), is an account executive. The business is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Barb Kohout (left) and her husband, Frank, are the owners of AlphaGraphics in Wheaton, where their daughter, Christine Fenne (right), is an account executive. The business is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

WHEATON – Those who attend the Ice (Cubed) Fest on Feb. 3 in downtown Wheaton will know AlphaGraphics has something to celebrate.

AlphaGraphics is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Those who walk past the store at 128 N. Main St. during the festival will see the number "30" etched in ice.

Husband and wife Frank and Barb Kohout are franchise owners of the store, opening the business on Feb. 15, 1988. Their daughter, Christine Fenne, is an account executive at the store and a member of the College of DuPage Board of Trustees.

To celebrate the anniversary, AlphaGraphics will hold an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 15.

Founded in 1970 by Rodger Ford, AlphaGraphics began franchising in 1979. The Kohouts originally had a store on Front Street in downtown Wheaton, where Emmett's Brewing Company is now located, but they have been at their current location for 20 years.

AlphaGraphics is the couple's first business. Prior to opening the business, Frank Kohout was a corporate controller, and Barb Kohout was a stay-at-home mom, cake decorator and food stylist.

"She had the art eye, and I had the financial background," Frank Kohout said.

Their backgrounds fit into running AlphaGraphics.

"His accounting background was with a folding carton company, so there was some element of print," Barb Kohout said. "He knew what was involved on a smaller scale."

AlphaGraphics provides a number of printing services, such as brochures, business cards, invitations, newsletters and fliers. The business has been able to keep up with changing technology.

"The digital aspect has gotten more involved in the printing as opposed to the offset side," Frank Kohout said.

AlphaGraphics serves the printing needs of both small and large companies.

"When we first started the business in town, the DuPage County Courthouse was getting ready to move out to County Farm Road," Barb Kohout said. "They needed new business cards, letterhead and also legal documents. We would photocopy and duplicate for all parties involved in their case."

In order to best meet the needs of their customers, they first try to find out as much as they can about their clients and their needs.

"This business teaches us about everybody else's business," Barb Kohout said. "We learn about them. We learn about their new product."

Their commitment to their customers has not gone unnoticed. In 2015, AlphaGraphics was presented with a Best of Wheaton Award.

Running the business is a family affair. Fenne has worked there for 18 years, starting out as a production manager and then a store manager. She is now an account executive at AlphaGraphics.

Fenne said she likes being part of a family business.

"It's really great," she said. "I get to give my boss a hug every day. They're very supportive and encouraged me to use my communication skills and marketing talents in the business. I've been very lucky to work in a family business."

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If you go

WHAT: AlphaGraphics' 30th anniversary open house

WHEN: 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 15

WHERE: 128 N. Main St., Wheaton

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