In his shop at 48 Market Street in Philadelphia, John Dunlap spent the afternoon and evening of July 4, 1776 composing and printing a job dropped off earlier that day by a pair of walk-in customers whose names probably were Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. This on-demand, short-run job was, of course, the Declaration of Independence, and the 100 to 200 copies printed by Dunlap put the American colonies on notice that the break with England was officially under way. (Read more in this account by the International Museum of Printing.) Only about 24 of Dunlap’s original copies still exist, but the legacy of the events they set in motion is timeless. It can’t be said often enough: American independence was achieved in large measure through the power of print, and today, the preservation of our freedoms is unimaginable without it. A Printing Office wishes all of our readers a happy and safe Fourth of July holiday. Judy Coovert, co-owner of PrintCom, Inc., in Burien, WA, speaks her mind about health care costs for small businesses in a guest editorial for The Seattle Times. Co-written by Don Conant, general manager of a fastener supplier in Olympia, WA, the editorial argues that the failure of state-run health reform plans indicates that “more government control, top-down mandates and price controls do not work.” According to Coovert and Conant, promoting market competition among health-care providers produces much better results: “price stabilization, expanded access to coverage for the uninsured, greater cost transparency and more involvement by participants in making decisions about their health-care needs.” They urge the Obama administration to move away from the concept of centralized control and to adopt plans based on market and consumer participation. A story originally published in The Journal Record of Tulsa, OK, profiled a local graphics firm, Smarter Media, upon its relocation to a new, 47,000-sq.ft. plant in a Tulsa business park. The facility will house graphic and web design centers, a product showroom, print production departments, and online operations. Smart Media’s owner, Tim Airhart, began the company as a franchise operation and later went independent as a business-to-business provider of graphic communication services. He’s quoted as saying that the economic downturn has helped the business by encouraging corporate customers with downsized marketing departments to turn to Smarter Media for the services they need. “We think the timing is great for our move,” Airhart told The Journal Record. “Our goal is not to merely survive these economic times, but pursue new opportunities.” Business Week used the experience of a fine-art printer in Davidson, NC, to alert other small businesses to a new maneuver by lender Capital One: posting the status of business loans to the borrower’s consumer credit files. The story says that Gary Kerr, owner of Fine Art Impressions, discovered as much when Capital One informed him that a loan he secured three years ago would be reported to consumer as well as business credit bureaus as of July 15. Although the loan was guaranteed both by the Small Business Administration and by Kerr personally, and despite the fact that he has repaid the majority of it without ever missing a payment, he’s worried that his personal credit score could drop by as many as 75 points once the unpaid balance is reported. The article speculates that the new reporting policy is an attempt by Capital One to discourage loan defaults. “Who says a printing company can’t be green?” Thus begins an article in BrookfieldNow about a Brookfield, WI, printer that answers the question with an unequivocal “Yes, we can.” According to the story, A/E Graphics, a 33-year-old digital print service provider that also has a location in Milwaukee, recently spent $12,000 updating its Brookfield office and warehouse lighting systems. By switching to energy efficient lamps, changing exit light signs to LED, and installing wall and ceiling occupancy sensors, A/E expects to save more than $2,300 annually. “As the world continues to focus more on ways to reduce energy consumption and to become more eco-friendly,” says co-owner Tom Taubenheim, “we have made the conscious decision to make our business more energy efficient.” The company also operates a flex-fuel delivery van, recycles aggressively, prints on environmentally responsible papers, and uses eco-solvent, non-VOC inks for signs and graphics. The online arm of a TV station in Phoenix, AZ, recently carried the cautionary tale of a small copy and print shop that found itself victimized by a seller of a fake health plan. (Out of consideration for the printing company, we’ll withhold the name and the usual links.) Responding to a faxed offer, the shop sent $500 for what it thought was an affordable PPO plan, only to receive a packet of information that turned out to be worthless. Telephone calls to recover the money went unanswered. The Arizona State Department of Insurance, which eventually helped the shop get the money back, offers anti-scam guidelines that are applicable everywhere: Look out for “easy” applications. Beware promised percentages of savings or guaranteed coverage. Resist pressure to “act now” or lose the offer. If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is—call the state insurance department to find out if the “insurer” is in fact a licensed provider.