We heart these people

By JEFF INGLIS  |  February 10, 2010

Business

FEAT021210_PMIbiz_PhilipRhi 
Philip Rhinelander

It's kind of by accident that PHILIP RHINELANDER, owner of XPress Copy, has come by his influence. Once a musician and music teacher in Vermont, he relocated to Maine more than 30 years ago to open a copy shop on the advice (and the financial backing) of a friend.

"The first five employees were all musicians," he recalls, and he and they had "always felt the pinch of the nonprofits, of the musicians, of the arts groups." In the early years, XPress Copy helped them out by interrupting larger corporate jobs to do small reproduction pieces for art students and the like, making them feel taken care of. Rhinelander confesses to not seeing the benefit of this for a little while, but "within a few years, those art students were office managers" and making decisions about where their companies would get copies, enlargements, and other printing jobs done.

In the '80s, Rhinelander's growing firm gave people credit on their accounts for bringing in paper to be recycled, and even trademarked CleanPrint, an ammonia-free method for making blueprints.

And he always gave discounts to non-profits and arts groups. But it wasn't until the early 2000s that some friends and he hit upon the concept that has made XPress Copy's reputation in the arts and entertainment community around town. Bulk discounts are a given in reproduction, but what if they stopped viewing each organization as an individual? They adopted the idea that "if you're a non-profit, you're part of the biggest customer in Maine" and started giving even bigger discounts.

The program has grown — it has an official name (XPress Non-profit Program) and even a targeted-marketing brochure — and is now a sizeable percentage of the company's business, as well as a significant money-saver for countless non-profits and artists. It's now even serving sports booster clubs, an organization of Mayflower descendants, and pretty much any group that is "doing some good for people."

It's a clever arrangement, business-wise, because Rhinelander has structured the price sustainably: the discount is not so low that XPress Copy loses money — it's just enough to give a small profit that means he can keep expanding the service without worrying about hurting the company. Rather, as Rhinelander notes, "we've found our niche." Some of his most recent additions to the business have been inspired by asking — and answering — the question, "What do the non-profits really need?"

And it has been crucial for business overall, because, of course, pretty much everyone — including, importantly, people who make corporate copying decisions — is somehow involved in an organization that qualifies, whether as the parent of a kid who plays on a team, or a church, or some other community group. The discount gets them in Rhinelander's door, but the service and quality, he hopes, brings them back, with corporate accounts in tow.

ANGELA ADAMS | designer | Her colorful, Maine-inspired goods have gone international

JEN BELTZ + THOM HOUSEHOLDER | principals, Front Burner PR | Putting Portland's foodie destinations on the national map

STEPHEN BENENSON | co-owner, One Longfellow Square | Running a grown-up venue that's come into its own

GILLIAN BRITT | owner, gBritt PR | Promoting Maine's arts and culture to the masses

DAN BURKE + ARNIE BEYELER | owner + manager, Portland Sea Dogs | Training the future of the Red Sox

CHRIS CAMPBELL | owner, Artist Studio building | Keeping artists' spaces affordable and lively

ALEX CARLETON | founder, Rogues Gallery | Outfitting hipsters and nautiphiles around the world

BROOKE DELORME | designer; owner, Brook There + 37A | Clothing Mainers — and her gallery's walls — in vibrant originality

BILL DUGGAN | owner, Videoport | Satisfying our very-strange-film cravings

ANNE + PETER VERRILL | owners, Grace | A shining example of the rebirth of a historic building

BRIAN PETROVEK + KEVIN DINEEN | CEO + head coach, Portland Pirates | Giving us a reason to go to the Civic Center

DOUG FUSS | owner, Bull Feeney's | Keeping the NLOC rowdies in line

CYRUS + PATRICIA HAGGE | backers of arts and culture | Putting their money and time where their priorities are

JON JENNINGS + AUSTIN AINGE | president/general manager + coach, Maine Red Claws | Firing up local basketball fever

LAURA KER | owner, Find | Carefully curating a new used-clothes collection on Free Street

STACEY KOLOSKI + HOLLYE SEDDON | co-founders, STAGES: The Performing Arts Academy for Kids | Boosting kids' confidence through theater

JODIE LAPCHICK | chief creative officer, Lapchick Creative | Marketing causes, not just organizations

MARY ALLEN LINDEMANN | owner, Coffee By Design; co-founder, Buy Local | Waking us up with a famous local brand

ELISE LOSCHIAVO | special events and public-relations manager, Portland Downtown District | Showcasing the state's leading city

ELLIOTT MAY | founder, Greendrinks | Uber-networker — for a cause

NAT MAY + JON COURTNEY | executive director + co-founder, SPACE Gallery | Tirelessly devoted to finding new ways to promote arts, artists, and ideas

BILL MURPHY | The Bonedriver at the Bone | Relentlessly insisting that hard rock be, well, you know . . .

JOHN + BRENDAN READY | owners, Ready Seafood; founders, Catch A Piece of Maine | Community-supported aquaculture tastes even better than regular lobster

CHRIS SEDENKA | afternoons on WJAB, voice of the Red Claws | Tapping into, and spreading, Southern Maine's sports fever

DAVID SWARDLICK | owner, Swardlick Marketing | Pioneering cause marketing and branding in Maine

HANNAH Tarkinson | creator, Ponomo | One-of-a-kind jewelry and handbags that see the new in the old

DIANE TOEPFER | owner, Ferdinand Home Store; co-founder, Picnic Music and Arts Festival | Promoting indie crafts and music with style

JESS TOMLINSON | director of public relations, Maine College of Art | Omnipresent arts enthusiast

SUSAN TRAN | president, Buy Local; co-owner, Tsunami Tattoo; sales/traffic coordinator, Maine Public Broadcasting | The go-to woman for many purposes, always ready to help

SID TRIPP + LEAH BARTLEY | co-founders, DownEast Pride Alliance | Letting businesses know that being gay-friendly is good for the bottom line, too

JD WAY | owner, Binga's Wingas | Feeding activists and activism

PERCY WHEELER | the man, Percy Cycles | Promoting Portland's love affair with bicycles

CHANTAL YOUNG | owner, chantal. | Reminding us that there's a fashion beyond flannel and boots

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