LENEXA, Kan. -- It all happens in just three weeks.
As Americans count down to the presidential election, one company from Johnson County is turning potential votes into profits, mass-producing bumper stickers that are getting bi-partisan support.
The 2016 presidential election season is proving to be a money-maker for Gill Studios, where the self-sticking label, the bumper sticker is in high demand. The company's chairman of the board, Mark Gilman, says his printing presses have turned out roughly three million stickers combined for the two major presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Gill Studios staffers are working two shifts keeping up with the demand for Clinton and Trump stickers, as placed by novelty marketing people around the nation. The company employs 420 people, and Gilman says this is one of the busiest periods the company has ever experienced.
“We make about 20-25 million bumper stickers every year,” Gilman said.
That number swells in an election year, approaching 40 million in all, some of which are for local and regional elections, according to Gilman.
“In the off years, we still get busy in the fall for political season. There are several states that hold their elections in off years, so we benefit from that. There are local elections that are held all over the country all the time,” Gilman explained.
Gill Studios' work is never far from the driver's eye. Cars all around the metro can be seen labeled with public support for Democratic and Republican causes alike.
“We keep the work moving,” Gilman said.
Gilman says he believes bumper stickers still make strong impressions.
“There are a lot of bumper stickers being made. Somebody's using them.”
Gilman says his employees don't take sides as they work. They believe every client – regardless of political party -- deserves good stickers. Ben Manning, a vice-president with the company, helps run a busy production floor, and says his printers are grateful for the work.
“We'll probably run for 12 to 14 weeks through a major political season and produce solid,” Manning said. “Up to six days per week during that time.”
Gilman praised his employees for recognizing the significance of their work, enabling voters to display their political preference on their automobiles.
Gilman says these presses will roll strong until late October. Once all the election-based orders are filled, he says he and his staff, like the rest of us, will brace themselves for an election day that could be eventful between Trump and Clinton.
Gill studios claims its founder, Forrest Gill, invented the first bumper sticker in 1946. Eight years later, politicians began using them to influence voters.