Virtual Press Clips: Print Firms in the News
By Patrick Henry
Published: August 31, 2009
Typophiles, to Taipei! For there, reports the Taipei Times, you’ll find a matchless typographical treasure: the last complete set of traditional Chinese character molds for lead-type casting in the world. The molds—all 200,000 of them—are the property of Ri Xing Typography, one of just two type foundries in Taiwan that still casts metal characters for traditional Chinese typesetting. Owner Chang Chiehkuan has embarked upon a plan to digitize Ri Xing’s typefaces and turn the factory into a museum. He estimates it will take up to three years to scan and edit the characters for conversion into computer fonts. In the meantime, Ri Xing will continue in business as a trade shop to Taiwan’s printing industry. More photos of this remarkable collection can be seen in Ri Xing’s Flickr album. Kellen M. Henry (no relation to Y.T.), a graduate journalism student at Northwestern University’s Medill School, featured Chicago’s Digital Hub LLC in a report on businesses that offset their electricity consumption by purchasing renewable energy certificates. The story, appearing in the student-produced Medill Reports - Chicago, says that the premium-priced certificates enable electricity customers to pay for green power by helping generators of renewable energy to compete with the lower costs of fossil fuel generation. Digital Hub, a provider of offset, digital, and large-format printing services, adopted the certificates as part of an ongoing effort to make its operations environmentally sustainable: a strategy that includes zero-VOC vegetable-based inks and waterless printing, carbon-free shipping, and many other “green” remedies. According to the story, Digital Hub also will install a wind turbine on the roof of its building to generate some of its own electricity. Mike Zaya and Seth Staszower, partners in PrintRunner, are good at attracting media attention to themselves and their Chatsworth, CA-based company. The Los Angeles Daily News profiled their rise from Internet-based retailers of inkjet cartridges and other desktop printing products to the owners of an online printing business with annual sales of $12 million and a database (the owners say) of 30,000 customers. The sons of immigrant parents, Zaya, 30, and Staszower, 29, met while they were undergraduates at Moorpark College in Moorpark, CA. The Ventura County Star (Camarillo, CA) has also chronicled their careers, noting the use they now make of a five-color, 16,000-sph, 40" Komori sheetfed press as the mainstay of a production operation that reportedly ships 400 to 500 jobs a day. “Print in the online market is very infantile,” Stazsower is quoted as saying in reference to the partners’ belief in the untapped potential of doing business this way. In WalletPop, a blog for personal finance, Zaya talks about how the business has continued to thrive despite the present downturn. “Paper’s not out,” he says. In other news from the Golden State, two print-based companies have been mentioned as happy exceptions to the difficulties that many California small businesses continue to face in their search for loan-based financing. Both companies are recent beneficiaries of the America’s Recovery Capital (ARC) program and other financing schemes offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The Bakersfield Californian reported that Stria, a document scanning and conversion service in that city, obtained $600,000 in SBA-guaranteed loans from a local bank to finance its rapid expansion. “If we hadn't got these loans, we wouldn't have been able to sustain our current level of growth, so it's worked really well for us,” Stria president and CEO Jim Damian is quoted as saying. James Quibodeaux, co-owner of Ryan Press in Buena Park, told The Orange County Register that the interest-free, deferred-payment loan he applied for “sailed through” processing by the lender, Gateway Bank. But, both stories indicate that these experiences are atypical of the small-business borrowing situation in California, where the papers say the pace of ARC lending has been sluggish. The reluctance of some banks to get on board with the program is cited as one reason. What’s the best way to respond to a recession? Just say no. So declares Carolyn Grieves, president of Printing Creations Inc., in a business profile in The Star-Press of Muncie, IN. “It's done well for us not to participate,” she says. “We know when this is all said and done, the strong ones will still be standing.” Her assurance comes from having operated the business through thick and thin since starting it in Yorktown, IN, 26 years ago. She says that the shop has few walk-in clients, instead transacting most of its business online or by telephone. Another company that has no time for recessions is Mulvane Copy & Print of Mulvane, KS, the subject of a story in The Wichita Eagle. With the help of his wife and his father, owner Derek Wathen launched the business last May after being laid off from his job as a sheet metal mechanic for Cessna. The shop is small—just 750 square feet—but it offers a full selection of printing, copying, finishing, and wide-format output services. To drum up trade in the area, Wathen has provided the printing in a cross-advertising program that he operates with 15 other local businesses.