Documentary style short films that tell the stories of the printing industry
Profiles in Print

Premier Press (Portland, Oregon)

About Premier Press

Premier’s story begins with the dream of Arnold (nicknamed Pep) Wheeler. Arnold had worked in the print industry for years, and he could see that something was lacking: service. Back in Arnold’s time, printing was a cut and dry industry with little care for customer satisfaction. This is what Arnold set out to change. It takes a certain courage to try and revolutionize an industry, but that’s just what he set out to do.

In 1974, Pep Printing opened its doors based on a single principle: to provide world-class customer service. Arnold had quit his job, hired co-worker Pete Lokteff as pressman, and borrowed space in the back of a friend’s stationary store to work out of. The company consisted of one camera, a borrowed printing press, and a few reams of paper. When Pete first walked in and saw the set-up, he asked Arnold, “What kind of a Mickey Mouse outfit is this?” Despite this initial reaction, the company soon had its first big break when JK Gill Stores sought them out, followed by several more clients. Soon, space was running out and they needed to move their operation to a new location.

In 1983, Pep Printing became Premier Press, embodying a new direction and vision for the company. By that time, Arnold’s eldest daughter Jodi had joined the company. She started the campaign to transform Premier from a quick print shop into the high-end, full service printer that it is today.

By 1985, the growth of Premier Press meant that another move was required. It was an exciting time, and with the help of Arnold’s friend, Dale Bradley, the entire operation moved to its new NW 15th and Glisan location in just one day. They stayed there for 30 years, growing into one of the top printers on the West Coast. Finally, the expanding demands on the business led the company to move once more to a state-of-the-art 170,000 sq. ft. facility on Swan Island. What began as a dream cobbled together with the help of friends and determination, has evolved into a full-service production company.

With all the changes Premier has felt with its growth, one factor has always remained the same: Arnold’s guiding principle of providing the best customer service. Premier Press started out as a family affair and that personal connectivity has continued throughout the company’s growth. Premier is still owned and operated by Arnold’s daughters, Juli and Joni, joined by Joni’s husband and the company president, Chris Feryn. The family links within Premier help to foster that personal connection that Premier values so highly with its clients. It’s by having this human element that Premier Press can bring order to the chaos of the printing industry and assist clients in the best way possible. Whether it’s with new technologies, customer satisfaction, or innovation, Premier will always strive to go beyond. Source: Premier Press

For more information about Premier Press visit

Special thanks to HP and Premier Press for making this film possible.

About WhatTheyThink Films

WhatTheyThink Films is a platform where the industry’s stories can be told in an engaging and entertaining format. Working with an experienced documentary filmmaking crew, WhatTheyThink seeks out the best stories in the industry and brings them to our members through this unique format. To be a film subject, or to sponsor a film contact Eric Vessels [email protected]