Widen Enterprises

Matthew Gonnering is CEO of Widen Enterprises, a digital services company that began in 1948 with a focus on printing engraving.

In 65 years, Widen Enterprises has advanced from engraving plates for newspapers to providing services for marketing and creative teams that improve the managing and sharing of digital images and video files.

"It's a software service that we manage and maintain for customers, so they don't need to install anything. They access their own secure library of marketing and creative files through a Web browser," said CEO Matthew Gonnering, 36, who joined Widen Enterprises in 2000.

Widen also helps their customers' creative teams with catalogs and images for Web and print use by retouching images to make sure the colors closely match the physical products. The company edits the images to add effects desired by the customer.

The company was started by Arthur Widen and his son Mark as Widen Engraving. Originally located at the corner of Highway 51 and East Washington Avenue, the business moved to Johnson Street, then to Industrial Drive where it remained until the 1990s. Its current location is within walking distance of the Industrial Drive location.

While the business and location has changed over the years, the focus on service has not.

"The services we provide to the market have changed drastically over our history because the methods for how people communicate with their audience continue to change," Gonnering said.

"We shifted away from traditional prepress functions, such as plate engraving, film output, film stripping and platemaking to adopt more digital workflows for catalog page production, color retouching and photo editing. We empower creative expression, and our focus has been on our growth in software technology. The transition from a prepress organization to a software technology organization has changed our culture dramatically."

Widen works with over 200 customers throughout the world in various industries. Wisconsin-based customers include Mercury Marine, SubZero, Briggs & Stratton, Trek Bicycle, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and Madison Gas & Electric. The privately held company with 80 employees generated $10 million to $20 million in revenue last year.

Digital asset management has been the key area of focus and growth over the last five years. New brands have been added to the Widen product portfolio including the soon-to-be-released Smartimage.

The Longevity in Business feature appears on the second Tuesday of each month. To suggest a business that has been operating for at least 50 years, contact Jill Carlson at jillcarlson1957@gmail.com.

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