Eric Lazar is the President of SpeedPro Chicago Loop, a print shop focused on large format graphics. He launched the business in 2015 alongside his business partner and Vice President Rebecca Considine. Prior to opening SpeedPro, Eric had a long history of entrepreneurship.
After serving in the United States Marine Corps for five years, Eric had successful ventures in resume writing, television broadcasting, and mobile services. Despite his diverse career paths, printing was never an industry he thought he’d get into.
“It’s certainly not a natural progression going from television to mobile then divert into print,” Eric said, but as he dove deeper into the industry, he found an opportunity to create a customer experience unlike other printing services.
“I was like, you know, I think I can do this better,” Eric said. “I think I can give people a different experience—something that’s going to be innovative—that C-suite consultive kind of experience.”
In addition to providing a unique customer experience, Eric also made giving back to the community a priority. Since its start, SpeedPro committed itself to putting 1% of its revenue back into the community through products, services, and discounts to charitable organizations.
According to Eric, SpeedPro Chicago Loop truly hit its stride in 2017 and grew into one of the top sign shops in Chicago. They have worked with small and big businesses from Allstate to local shops.
A large part of SpeedPro’s business also came from trade shows, exhibitions, and conventions, which made the COVID-19 pandemic particularly devastating.
“At the end of February 2020, we had nearly every order related to this sector for February and March and beyond cancel. That business did not begin to return until August, and it was just a mere fraction of its former glory,” Eric said. “Much of the remaining revenue is related to interior corporate graphics, but with the citywide shelter-in-place orders and offices closed, that channel evaporated too.”
Another devastating consequence of the pandemic was the rising cost of materials. Eric said that SpeedPro’s cost of goods increased over 55% from 2019 to 2021.
Thankfully, Eric received funding through the Illinois Back to Business Grant program. His grant funds were put towards acquiring inventory and offsetting the rising cost of materials.
“We definitely appreciate the grant money, it’s certainly been a tough two years, and this will help greatly,” Eric said. Looking forward, Eric hopes to continue serving the Chicago community with quality service and products.