Production Xpress of Jacksonville Changes Ownership

Lacie Nichols is no stranger to graphic design, the printing industry, customer service or management. As of April 1, she added “business owner” to her resume.

Nichols purchased Production Xpress at 320 E. Morton Ave., giving former owner Joe Racey the option of retirement.

“It was kind of a joke,” Nichols said. “(Racey) is ready to retire.”

The two were talking and the topic of selling the business came up. Racey was starting to realize it was possible, Nichols said.

“Oh you mean it,” she said of her comments.

Three months later, having learned the ropes of running a business – from the finances to the hidden details that keep businesses in good standing with the state – Nichols is the official owner.

“(Racey) said he wasn’t trying to school me, he was trying to teach me,” Nichols said.

Nichols began her career at Production Xpress in 2011, when she was 19, working in bookbinding at the now-closed main print shop at 301 E. Morgan St.

It wasn’t long before she changed careers when an employee who was also an active duty military was sent on a deployment.

“I took over the job as a graphic designer for about two years,” Nichols said, adding that she loved doing it. “My associate degree is in graphic design.”

Nichols returned to bookbinding for a short time, but soon returned to full-time graphic design work, saying she liked being able to be creative and get paid at the same time.

It wasn’t until three years ago that Nichols made the leap to management, leading staff at the Morton Avenue location.

“We’re such a close staff it’s more like family,” she said.

Now that Nichols is at the helm, she intends to continue serving current customers, but is also excited to continue contributing to the local economy and growing the company’s presence.

“It makes me want to do more for the community,” she said.

Nichols did not tell her family she was buying the business during the transition phase, she said.

“They were super excited” when they finally found out, she said.

Production Xpress’ offerings will remain the same for now, as will the name, although Nichols intends to add additional features to the company over time.

“We’re still learning the new normal,” she said of adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic.