History of Graphic Encounter...Since 1970
The September 2003 Fortune Small Business feature article entitled How We Got Started reflects on the iconic status of California garage "startups" like the Mattel Corporation, Wham-O the Walt Disney Company and Hewlett Packard. These companies, according to Fortune Small Business, transformed the California garage into a metaphor for American ingenuity.
Like these other successful companies, Graphic Encounter also had its humble beginnings. Ron Golbus started his art consulting and picture frame manufacturing business from his single car garage on the west side area of Los Angeles in 1970. Over time Graphic Encounter has become the premier brand for art consulting and framed art fabrication in the government + hospitality industry.
Graphic Encounter's clients include Interior Design and Hotel Development icons; Yates-Silverman, Inc., Wynn Las Vegas, MGM Resorts, MGM Mirage, Harrah's Entertainment, Boyd Gaming Corporation, Purchasing Management International, Ameristar Casinos, Marnell Corrao Corporation, Hilton Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, Marriott Hotels International, Hirsch Bedner Associates, Wilson Associates, Golden Gaming Corporation and The United States Federal Government.
Ron Golbus was born in 1947 in Chicago, Illinois. The youngest of two children to Stanley and Irene, Ron lived with his family in Chicago until he was seven.
In 1953, Ron and his family moved from Chicago to Beverly Hills, California. Ron attended Beverly Hills High School, and graduated in 1965 along side fellow classmates Richard Dreyfuss and Albert Brooks. Ron often reflects fondly on the many times he sat between Ricky and Albert (whose real name is Albert Einstein by the way) in study hall. The three of them would field comedic repartee hour after hilarious hour until one of them would eventually get sent to the principal's office for goofing off.
In 1967, during the Viet Nam War, Ron joined the United States Navy and was stationed at Glenview Naval Air Station in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. The G.I. Bill enabled Ron to attend Northwestern University on a part time basis while on active duty, which helped him develop his business and social skills in an educational environment at one of the nation's most revered learning institutions.
Upon his discharge in 1970, Ron returned to Southern California and finished his degree at the California State University. While trying to figure out how to make a living in the real world, a friend of his told him that "everyone" in her office bought some artwork from two salespeople that were canvassing their office building.
Ron had always sold something whether it was magazine subscriptions at the age of 8, or newspapers at the corner supermarket. When Ron was young, his mother Irene told him that his late father Stanley used to make his living selling Kirby vacuum cleaners door-to-door. According to Irene, Stanley could sell anything. Following his birthright, Ron pursued the field of sales, which after all, came very naturally to him. After some consideration, Ron thought that he might be able to succeed selling art door-to-door as a part time job. The rest is history.
Ron set up shop in the single car garage located beneath his one bedroom west side apartment. From the beginning, Ron knew the importance of quickly fulfilling his orders. With this concern in mind, he developed creative systems to manage his supply chain in order to ensure on-time delivery for his clients.
Ron soon hired his own team of sales people. As the sales team canvassed the greater Los Angeles area, they developed some commercial accounts, which specialized in multi-housing developments. The appreciably greater revenue that the company realized from these commercial accounts caused Graphic Encounter to shift its attention from individuals purchasing art for their offices or homes to larger corporate entities that purchase art in quantity for large-scale projects.
After operating Graphic Encounter for a few years, Ron made a strategic decision to target the hotel industry. Hilton Hotels became Ron's first client in the hotel market. To meet the needs of their new, very important client, Graphic Encounter expanded its product offering beyond laminated plaques to include fine art prints and posters properly framed behind glass.
As Ron's relationship with Hilton Hotels progressed, Graphic Encounter's services grew to include hand silk-screening and special color application to enable the production of site-specific, custom artwork.
Over time, Ron began working more closely with Interior Designers and Architects on Hospitality Industry projects. To make sure that Graphic Encounter could fulfill the fast-paced production needs of these busy professionals, Ron purchased a manufacturing facility in Los Angeles.
Ron's hard work and superior customer service paid off in the late 80's when the internationally renown interior design firm Yates-Silverman, Inc. of Beverly Hills awarded Graphic Encounter the contract to design and publish custom images of jousting knights in shining armor for the largest hotel in the world, Excalibur Hotel in Las Vegas...the first 3,000+ room hotel in the world.
After the successful Excalibur project, Ron repositioned his company to specialize in the thematic design of art for major hotel properties. Over time, Graphic Encounter, Inc. has provided artwork to every hotel in Las Vegas and owes Mr. Silverman, President of Yates-Silverman, Inc. his endless gratitude for helping the company gain a foothold in the Casino Hotel marketplace.
Ron's passion for skiing and his love for the Rocky Mountains motivated him to move his family to Aspen, Colorado in 1995. His wife Carolyn, and their two children, 3 year old Ryan, 1 year old Chandler, picked up everything they owned and moved from Los Angeles to Basalt, a small, turn-of-the-century mining town located just 14 miles down valley from Aspen. Subsequent to their move to Basalt, their son Garrett, now 6 years old, was born in Aspen in December of 2000.
Ron takes pride in maintaining his long-standing client relationships by providing unmatched, luxurious customer service. To uphold his high standards, Ron has developed a firm policy: If something goes wrong Graphic Encounter fixes it...pronto! No exceptions! This philosophy is simple, but effective, and it has allowed him to gain the trust of the most respected professionals in the Hospitality Design Industry.
In the last year, Graphic Encounter has taken a new thrust forward thanks again to Ron's vision and leadership. This time, Ron has taken an enthusiastic leap into the position of Executive Brand Manager for Graphic Encounter. Together with the help of his branding agency of record, Ron has a new, highly intelligent focus on strategically refining Graphic Encounter's customer interactions to deliver maximum value at every point of contact. This client-centric approach to business is mandatory if a firm is going to be successful over time. "We make our decisions on what works for our clients" say Ron. "If it works for them, it will work for us."
Today, Ron brings a spirit and vision to the company that can only be actualized by a true entrepreneur. This spirit is reflected throughout the organization. Early in 2002 Ron embarked on a new and colorful branding initiative as the personification of creative individuals working together to achieve the best results for the client: Team Graphic Encounter™, which consists of each and every person who represents the brand.
In 2006, Team Graphic Encounter™ trailored Ron's body off restoration - '65 Red Stingray Corvette to the Hospitality Design show in Las Vegas, Nevada. "Team Graphic Encounter™ exhibits the classic high-performance characteristics of a championship race team," says Golbus, "and we wanted the industry to know who we are and what we can do for them."
In 2007, Team Graphic Encounter™ trailored Ron's body off restoration - '64 Plymouth to the Hospitality Design show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Once again, the personal branding of the team and the perfection of our brand was brightly and boldly exemplified by our show stopping muscle car on the main isle of this once a year trade show of over 10,000 attendees and exhibitors.
Graphic Encounter maintains mature relationships with artists/publishers/fabricators throughout North America who fabricate the various decor items which Graphic Encounter provides to the hospitality industry. Graphic Encounter's offices sit aside the Roaring Fork River in Basalt, Colorado - a town of only 2,000 people, but in striking distance to Aspen, Colorado - Ski Town USA.
Graphic Encounter is staffed by a team of highly skilled, creative professionals. Each member of Team Graphic Encounter™ is dedicated to excellence and passionate about their job. "My goal is to identify each and every member of the team as a brand unto themselves. That is why I go to the creative lengths I have to have their biographies and pictures attached to the branding initiatives. We have a personal business. We interface with clients over the telephone, via email, direct mail, and trade shows. We are actually a low-tech business. We answer the phone by the second ring. No voice mail for Graphic Encounter. I want us to be identified by our helpful personalities and I want our team members to be easily identified."
Ron's success in business is based on his love of art, his proficiency in sales and marketing, and most importantly his love for people. Ron believes that at the end of the day, success or failure in business is mostly determined by the people one deals with, and the quality relationships that one is able to establish. "When you give your word, you must keep it. You must do what ever is necessary to get the job done. I always remember a quote from Winston Churchill, ‘Sometimes doing the best you can do just isn't good enough.‘ I have always been inspired by the opportunities that I have been given, and even more to do an exceptional job for those who have given me those opportunities."
In 2003, Wynn Design and Development of Las Vegas, Nevada awarded Graphic Encounter the contract to provide the Pop art of Andy Warhol, Americas Most Famous Artist, and the Cubist art of Pablo Picasso, the Most Famous Painter of the twentieth century, for the 2,600 rooms of Wynn Las Vegas the World's most expensive hotel.
In 2008, Wynn Design and Development of Las Vegas, Nevada awarded Graphic Encounter the contract to custom publish and custom frame original images onto canvas for the 2,300 guest rooms and suites of Encore at Wynn Las Vegas which sits aside Wynn Las Vegas on the Las Vegas strip.
In 2011/2014, MGM Resorts International of Las Vegas, Nevada which is one of the largest and most successful gaming casino developers in the world awarded Graphic Encounter the contracts to provide over 40,000 custom images on canvas, which Graphic Encounter custom framed for the guest rooms, suites and public areas of Bellagio Las Vegas, MGM Grand, and the Bellagio Spa Tower.
Since the 70’s. Graphic Encounter success in Las Vegas, Nevada has been nothing short of extraordinary…providing professional art consulting services to more premier destination resorts and hotels in Las Vegas than any other art resource.
On a personal note... Over the last 45 years, people have often asked me if there's something special about Graphic Encounter that has been responsible for it's growth and success. I respond by saying "listen closely to your clients, make sure you do a great job each and every time, and if there is a problem of any kind what-so-ever, fix it and fix it fast." Graphic Encounter's philosophy is simple. We make client-centric decisions that benefit you.
The rest as they say…is History!
Thank you for 45 wonderful years in the hospitality industry.
President + Founder