Human Resources, Marketing, PR & Advertising, and Retail

Successful on paper: Growing printer celebrates 70 years

August 5, 2016
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Print isn’t dead. Just ask Tim and Mary Jane Schreur.

The Schreurs are the happily married owners of Schreur Printing and Mailing, a Holland-based printing company that has been running strong since 1946. This year it celebrates its 70-year anniversary in a world that’s growing ever more digital.

“People said print was going away, but honestly, I think it’s coming back. It’s changed in a sense, but people look at what’s important,” said Mary Jane Schreur, the company’s vice president. “Manufacturers think it’s important to have (print) instructions. Anytime they think it’s important, they print it. It builds stability and credibility. Print is more tangible. It’s a relationship builder.”

Tim’s grandfather, George Schreur, started the printing company the year after World War II ended. It was passed on to Tim’s father and uncle before Tim and Mary Jane purchased the business in 1997.

Back in 1946, the company used molten lead to set printing type. A full-color printing job went through the presses four times and required days to print.

“You got a lot of printer’s ink on your hands in the old days,” said Tim Schreur, who’s the company president and has been working in the printing business since he was a student at Holland Christian High School.

“Today, we can design a four-color brochure, print it and have it in the mail to customers in less than four days using computers, custom-designed graphics, lasers and high-speed digital presses.”

The company currently does “everything” when it comes to print needs, she said — letterhead, envelopes, business cards, industry labels, warning manuals, construction books, political banners, yard signs and more.

Even though many have found it difficult to maintain print businesses, Schreur Printing has grown between 8 percent and 10 percent annually and expects that hot streak to continue for the next five years. The company’s investment in building and equipment is now in the $3 million-$4 million range, and the company has about eight employees.

“While online advertising and electronic promotion is given a lot of attention these days, regional printing operations grew at about five percent last year,” he said. 

“Print remains a strong medium for advertising, as it conveys a sense of worth and validity to a statement or product. A multi-touch campaign using print, email, social media and web pages can really make an impact.”

Part of what’s kept Schreur Printing viable is its ability to adapt. The company’s complete in-house mailing and fulfillment system for clients takes care of all processing details, Mary Jane Schreur said. Schreur Printing is often called on to make national mailing lists for its customer promotions. It targets direct mail to “specific neighborhoods in Michigan cities with postage that can come in under 18 cents each,” she said.

“We really strive to listen to our clients to meet the objectives of their direct mail campaigns, whether it is for a nonprofit organization or B-to-B customers to get what they want on budget,” she said.

“I think whenever the economy changes, we’ve added mailing. I credit my husband. I think he’s done a great job of staying ahead (of) what’s coming. He does a good job of looking down the road for what’s coming in the industry. … It’s about staying current with technology. And a lot of prayer.”

Another piece of the Schreurs’ success has been their location. The company recently moved to a new 6,000-square-foot plant and business office at 10861 Paw Paw Drive in Holland Township to handle growing business and print runs from 500 to more than 100,000 pieces.

“The square footage we had was about the same, but the new space was better, since we’ve expanded into doing signs and banners,” she said. “Also, we now own the building instead of renting.”

Print and digital services are at this point are almost different markets with different customer expectations, she said, which is why it’s so important to check with the client on everything they want. 

“I think that’s a big part of our business, too. It’s a nice thing because people look at print, they often change things more often and they want flexibility. One thing about digital (printing) is you’re able to work better with that. It’s been a good thing,” she said.

“When someone comes to us, we’re not just looking at it as a job. We think about ‘what ideas can we bring to the table to make them a success?’ We want to make others successful.”

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