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LEAD STORY

Did we tell you that print is dead?

cover of First Monday featuring an interior view of the Huron Web printing plant

I had a call from a potential buyer.

He wanted to know why I’m spending $800,000.00 on a new heat set press if Huron Web Printing and Graphics is for sale.

I told him because we have too much work, not enough print capacity and anyone who wants to buy us either can’t finance a purchase or wants me to finance a purchase through an earn out.

The latter is especially annoying.

An earn out means I would work another three to five years while a potential purchaser uses Huron Web’s profits to buy me out. If I’m going to work that hard I might as well work for myself.

Thus, the new press.

Last month I attended a peer group meeting in Gravenhurst. One of the members sold out five years ago and he stressed that when selling, run the company like you don’t have a buyer and your banker isn’t your buddy.

Thus, the new press.

The new press actually isn’t a new press. It is a gently used press that we bought last March from our competitor for a mere $50,000.00.

Financially troubled Postmedia, which owns The Sarnia Observer and a ragtag collection of weeklies closed its Webco Publications plant in nearby London two years ago. The press remained inside the shuttered plant.

Postmedia views Huron Web as a competitor and the last thing the media conglomerate wanted was to have the Webco press in Wyoming, Ontario.

However, when the Webco building was sold last March Postmedia apparently forgot to tell the new owner.

Thus the gently used heat set press is in Wyoming.

Litho Services of Sherbrooke, Quebec began installation last month. They tell me it will be up and running with three folders, three stackers and various combinations of deserters and trimmers by September.

Miami Valley Publishing, our competitor in Fairborn, Ohio went out of business in March. Since then we have $2.7 million worth of print farmed out to printers in Chicago, Troy, Michigan and Portland, Tennessee.

In September we will repatriate most of that work back to Huron Web.

In the meantime I don’t have to sell and won’t until I damn well feel like it.

I hate golf and according to Google and Facebook print is dead.

What am I thinking?

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