A tip of the hat to The Citizen of Laconia, NH, for reminding readers that using the services of printers often makes better business sense than running off their own copies. An article titled “Use mindful management to control routine costs” sensibly advises:

“Don’t photocopy high-volume items that you can print for less. Copies typically cost five to 15 cents each, even if you do them yourself, including paper, toner, labor and maintenance. Printing can lower costs to three cents or less. The biggest cost items are forms, flyers and form letters that you think you use in small quantities. But if you photocopy a few dozen per week, that can be thousands per year and you could save by having it printed.”
Through organizations like The Print Council and its information arm, Print in the Mix, the industry presents some fairly elaborate arguments in favor of hard-copy media. They’re persuasive, but doesn’t this bit of Yankee common sense out of New Hampshire suggest that simple, everyday dollars-and-cents examples could be just as effective? Let us know what you think the message to media buyers ought to be. The North Fort Myers Neighbor (North Fort Myers, FL) has spotlighted the owners of the local Allegra Print & Imaging franchise for offering a helping hand to nonprofit agencies in Lee County. The story reports how Bruce and Darleen Vanderveen started the FootPRINT Fund for Nonprofit Friends, a program that will award up to $1,000 worth of printing services to a nonprofit chosen by a committee of local business leaders. Services could include graphic design, printing, copying, and bindery, and the recipient—to be named in September—will have until Oct. 1, 2010, to use them. "We understand how difficult these things are for those organizations in this economy," Darleen Vanderveen is quoted as saying. "The work they do in our community is so valuable, and we need to make sure they remain viable." Established 20 years, Allegra Print & Imaging of North Fort Myers offers full-color printing, graphic design services, short-run digital printing, color and high-speed copying, posters, and banners. In East Setauket, Long Island (NY), Printing Spectrum Inc. has been named the official printer of the New York Islanders hockey team. According to a story in Newsday, Printing Spectrum is continuing a relationship it had with the Islanders last season when it printed the team's monthly magazine, Islander Illustrated, and its coupon book. Under a contract signed in June, Printing Spectrum's name and logo will appear on all the Islander publications. The company, a commercial printer that also offers mailing, fulfillment, and disc duplication and packaging services, is under the supervision of Jim Altebrando, president. It was started by his late father, Anthony Altebrando, in a Port Jefferson, NY, garage in 1986. Today Printing Spectrum employs 65 people and has a second facility in Edinburg, TX. Speaking of Texas, Executive Press of Richardson attracted the notice of the Collin County Business Press with the success of its efforts to go green. The story quotes president Tom Sadler as saying that it all started when the company installed surge protectors to safeguard its computer equipment. Electricity usage dropped by 15%, prompting Sadler to search for other ways to make his operation more environmentally sensitive. Now, says the story, Executive Press prints with soy ink on recycled or FSC-certified papers unless customers request otherwise. Paper and plates used in production are recycled. However, none of the costs of going green are passed through to customers. "We haven't raised our prices even though it is more expensive to do," Sadler says. We have to be competitive." Fort Morgan, CO, may be the only place in America where a printing company is co-located with a gun shop. Both businesses belong to Randy Patten, profiled in an article appearing in The Fort Morgan Times. According to the story, he started Commercial Printers, the print shop, 25 years ago and the gunsmithing business about a year and a half ago. The gun shop is next door to the printing shop, which Patten recently updated with three color digital presses, a wide-format printer, and a laser cutter. Commercial Printers also has an on-demand book printing machine that lets Patten produce bound books at $4 apiece in any quantity desired. The company also offers business forms, banners, signage, and specialty items. As for the gun shop, it sells and repairs standard and special-order firearms. Patten is quoted as saying that he advises customers not to pay inflated prices for military-style weapons that they fear may be banned. Caveat investor. That's a lesson that a small printing shop in South El Monte, CA, learned the hard way—albeit through no fault of its own—when it discovered it was facing more than $1.3 million worth of back taxes, interest, and penalties stemming from its five-year investment in a tax-free retirement plan. Unbeknownst to the company, the plan was under investigation by the IRS as an improper tax shelter in a campaign aimed not at small businesses, but at major corporations attempting to hide taxable income. The printer's troubles arose from its failure to send a disclosure form to a special office at the agency. They ended last month when, at the request of members of Congress, the IRS agreed to suspend collections of tax shelter-related penalties incurred by small businesses. Throughout the ordeal, the print shop owners insisted that they had no reason to think that the retirement plan was suspect. Nor were they ever told about the disclosure requirements, they said. (Company name and source links have been omitted.)