Palmyra-based SKUpics ready to expand
On: March 2, 2015 Filed Under: Member News
By Michael Sadowski February 18, 2015 at 8:00 AM
It started with an ocean wave. A picture of one, at least.
From that wave, more than 20 years later a business that started as a portrait station for visitors at Hersheypark is now a large-scale technology company with the ability to handle taking thousands of pictures for commercial and industrial clients each week.
But SKUpics LLC in Palmyra is more than a picture-taking company, said Tony Sinkosky, the company’s president and CEO. It’s a data-driven company that developed its own technology to take hundreds of thousands of pictures of products to update client websites.
And it’s filling a niche companies need at this exact time.
“Ten, 12 years ago, there was the big push for every company to have a website. So they all got one,” Sinkosky said. “And for a lot of companies, they just forgot about the sites. Now they’re realizing they need updated pictures of their products, but you’re talking about thousands of products, each one with specific, necessary data attached to it.”
SKUpics can take pictures of the products that are shipped to its Palmyra headquarters and attach data to the pictures for upload onto a company’s website. The idea for the company came when a Harrisburg-area company — which remains a client and has a nondisclosure agreement with SKUpics not to be publicly identified — faced the task of retaking pictures of thousands of pieces of equipment.
At the time, Sinkosky’s first business venture, Get the Picture Corp., had developed technology to take ride pictures at Hersheypark roller coasters and match the pictures with the people on the ride. The company started in the early 1990s, when it took pictures of Hersheypark patrons in front of a large portrait of a wave that made it seem as though they were about the be swallowed by the ocean.
The company advanced to taking pictures and video of coaster riders when only Disney World and Cedar Point amusement parks were doing it. That kind of prolific work made an interesting match for the Harrisburg-area company.
“They were really having trouble coming up with how to get the pictures taken when someone at the company said, ‘Those picture-taking companies at amusement parks can do it, why can’t we?’” Sinkosky said. “That’s when they reached out to us.”
Get the Picture Executive Vice President Bob Hench took that call in December 2011. Within a few weeks, the company had a plan for tackling the job. Hench, who designed much of the technology for Get the Picture, designed equipment to go into the company’s production center and take thousands of product pictures. About 10 months and 230,000 pictures later, it brought the project in under budget.
Sinkosky and Hench realized this was an untapped market. They formed SKUpics in 2012 and now have about 20 clients. SKUpics moved from the Get the Picture office on South Roosevelt Street in Derry Township to its current office and studio in the Palmyra Business Park.
The company generated about $1.1 million in revenue in 2013, Sinkosky said, and about $2 million in 2014.
That growth — and growth at Get the Picture, which still is in Derry Township — has led Sinkosky and his team to a significant expansion. In the summer, the company expects to break ground on a 3-acre parcel on Route 322 in South Annville Township that will serve as the headquarters for both companies. It also will include leaseable space on the property fronting Route 322.
“We don’t need the road frontage,” Hench said. “But we know there are companies that do want it.”
The proposed 26,000-square-foot facility will be about four times the size of SKUpics’s current studio and cost about $1 million for construction, according to Chris Eichfeld, director of facilities for SKUpics.
“We’re busting out of the place,” Sinkosky said about the Get the Picture office. “And we don’t have enough space (in Palmyra) either.”
All but one of the company’s 10 employees started out as summer workers at Get the Picture at Hersheypark as 14- and 15-year-olds, Sinkosky said. They went off to college and, after they graduated, found work at SKUpics and Get the Picture.
That’s the kind of culture Sinkosky said he’s trying to establish, one entrenched in the region with people who know the companies and what they’re all about. Most of the company’s employees are also shareholders.
“We see this as something that’s going to keep growing,” Sinkosky said. “This is just the start.”