Plum Grove Celebrates 40 Years Helping Businesses Grow

Hoffman Estates, IL • Dec 1, 2020 – Plum Grove Inc. is celebrating its 40th anniversary as a full-service marketing and printing agency that specializes in helping businesses grow.

Peter Lineal circa 1984
Peter Lineal at Plum Grove circa 1984

It was December 1980 when Peter Lineal, Founder, got the keys to his new business, which happened to fall on the same day his daughter, Kara, was born. In its first year, Plum Grove struggled to turn a profit, and Peter’s entrepreneurial optimism was declining when three ladies walked through the door, waking Peter’s infant daughter, “Kara was screaming, yet immediately became our top salesperson when this non-profit organization became enamored with my new baby, and ultimately partnered with our business, becoming our biggest client for the next 17 years,” laughs Peter.

Under Peter’s leadership, Plum Grove has evolved from a commercial printer to a one-stop-shop that includes marketing consulting, mailing services, promotional products, signs, and trade show displays. In his active role as founder and sales manager, Peter utilizes his decades of printing, marketing, and mailing expertise to serve hundreds of clients nationwide.

This non-profit organization became enamored with my new baby, and ultimately partnered with our business, becoming our biggest client for the next 17 years.

Kara Lineal, President & CMO, joined the business in 2018, “After enjoying a very rewarding career growing sales and leading marketing teams for manufacturers of consumer goods, global brands, and mass retailers, I made a quality-of-life transition and joined forces with my father in our shared passion for marketing.” Kara and Peter Lineal are a dynamic duo that bring together decades of traditional, digital and blended “tra-digital” marketing success stories, serving the gamut of startups, local businesses, national chains, B2B, B2C, nonprofits, and franchises.

Plum Grove Inc Family
The next generation of the Plum Grove Inc Family, Peter with daughter, Kara, and granddaughter, Jadyn
Plum Grove Team
Plum Grove offers a dog-friendly workplace to the 30 individuals on the team.

In its decorated history, Plum Grove has been awarded the Daily Herald Annual Award for Business Excellence (AABE), the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Governor’s Pollution Prevention Award, and the Business Ledger C-Suite of the Year, amongst others.

Plum Grove’s many achievements have been made possible because of its dedicated workforce of 30 individuals – over a third of which have been together for 20+ years, and more than half have been with the agency for over a decade. This longevity is a defining reason how Plum Grove is able to offer expert insights and hassle-free experiences to help its clients grow their businesses.

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40-Year Evolution

Plum Grove Printer's official opening was on the last day of the year 1980. Back in the 1980s people didn't even have fax machines or copy machines. We went into the quick printing business because people needed stuff quickly and they needed it on plain paper that they could write on. There was a printer on every corner – like coffee shops today.
The IBM Personal Computer (PC) was introduced in 1981, although their impact really exploded when the Internet came along years later. Most printing in the '80s was for transactional forms that were necessary to keep businesses organized and running, like checks and carbonless forms, or informational collateral including directories, catalogs, how-to instruction books, and manuals. Businesses had a limited number of ways to get information into the hands of staff or clients other than ink on paper.
We made more deliveries in the early '80s than we do today because people didn't have fax machines or copiers, scanners, or email. When we designed a project for a client, we had to drive a physical printed proof to their office for review and approval. When a company needed copies of something, they called us to pick-up their original copy or brought it into our shop. We then printed it, and we delivered it back to them.
As the Macintosh computer and other computers came into the world, less paper processes were being used because people could save documents on computers and disks. It created more print collateral in other areas because people were now able to write books and design marketing pieces themselves. Technology facilitated more content and information in the world, but it also created a platform for digital data, reducing the need for printing. Transactional paper started to decline, and applications and forms became increasingly digital. On the other hand, people started to say “Print this full-color brochure I designed” or “Print this book I wrote.” They never would have been able to do that in the early 1980s.
In the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s the Internet changed everything. It allowed informational paper – directories, phone books, other publications – to be maintained digitally. In print marketing, demand shifted to high-quality design and full-color graphics for newsletters, magazines, brochures, and direct mail. Marketing budgets shifted to digital marketing, including web design and email marketing. Businesses started focusing on measuring the impact of their campaigns.
By the 2000’s, one of the things we saw with advertising (and my working definition of advertising is an interruption in somebody's day) is that it was hard to interrupt someone's day with your message. With TV we had DVR, and could skip over commercials; on radio, we had satellite radio without commercials at all; and on the Internet, we could ignore the ads as we're browsing. Although digital marketing tactics, like email marketing, took off, it became hard to stand out in the crowd. It was hard to create awareness of a new product or service without spending millions of dollars.
As marketing technology evolved, personalization, automation, and data-driven marketing became the keys to marketing success. We were now able to leverage sophisticated tracking and testing to make sure we were reaching the right people with the right message and the right time and at a large scale. We continued to invest in our technology, software, and equipment, but especially in our talent so that we could generate the best ideas to help businesses grow. The need was for advice, ideas, and tactical suggestions on the implementation of marketing solutions to help people grow their businesses and do it profitably.
We continued to see our business change every few years – both products and services. Even our name transitioned from “Plum Grove Printers” to “Plum Grove Inc.”. Our marketing toolbox expanded from printing to mail to promotional products to trade show to digital marketing services. We continuously evolved and re-invented ourselves, so that we could help our clients do the same and grow their businesses – no matter what marketing mix that required.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, Plum Grove quickly pivoted its business model to keep our families working, use our PPP loan responsibly, and to help businesses survive the crisis. We donated over 500,000 free signs promoting health guidelines that keep companies and their patrons safe. We recruited several USA factories that would otherwise be out of work to build personal protective equipment (PPE) products. In this time of need, our family has come together to support the community through the health and safety of local businesses across the globe.

About Plum Grove

Plum Grove® empowers businesses to connect with the world, tell their story, build their brands, and promote growth through innovative marketing solutions. The one-stop shop offers over 1 million ways to market your business with award-winning creativity in print, direct mail, trade show exhibits, and promotional swag. With over 40 years of history and experience, and an average employee tenure of more than 15 years, Plum Grove prides itself on both its powerful force of seasoned experts and the strong family values that are the foundation of its culture. To learn more, visit

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