2013 Hall of Fame : Bob Lothenbach – Imagine! the Possibilities
The Lothenbach family, pictured clockwise from bottom: Bella (dog), Michael, Bob, Audrey, Clare and Ryan.
Bob Lothenbach (far left) enjoys golf in Ireland with (from the left) Kevin Cashman, Pat Hopf and Scott Egginton.
A Lothenbach family vacation in Hawaii included (from the left): Jack, Bob, dad Frank Sr., mom Lorraine and Frank Jr.
He used a warehouse garage as the shop’s home. His first hire was someone with a car, and Lothenbach slowly staffed up as sales grew. That first year, the company—Bob’s Printing—did roughly $1 million in sales. It’s gone through a few name changes (Challenge Printing and now Imagine! Print Solutions) but, 25 years later, it is still performing at a break-neck clip—30 percent annual compounded growth.
Today, Minneapolis-based Imagine! Print Solutions is on track to post annual sales north of $200 million. Its tale of amazing growth makes Lothenbach, the firm’s president and owner, a fitting member of the 2013 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame class.
Through it all, Lothenbach was only following the work ethic guidance provided by his mother and father. The youngest of three boys, he grew up in Bloomington, MN, in what he describes as a typical, working-class experience. His father and two aunts purchased a cabin, and 19 family members would pile into it for unforgettable summer weekends. The elder Lothenbach would soon purchase his own cabin, but priorities were always set.
“When we went to the cabin, we’d bring our clothes in, then immediately go outside, open the shed and start the lawnmowers,” he recalls. “We didn’t do anything until all of our chores were done.
“My mother and father stressed honesty and integrity. My dad always said, ‘If I teach you a good work ethic, I’ll never have to worry about you being able to take care of yourself.’ That’s something he instilled in all three of his sons. It’s benefitted me, and all three of us have done well.”
It certainly helped that Lothenbach was blessed with the entrepreneurial spirit. Sure, he had a paper route when he was around 10, and he had Bob’s Snow Plowing in the winter. But, while in high school, Lothenbach made out like a bandit by being one of the youngest concert promoters. As a junior, he put on five shows in the Paradise Ballroom featuring multiple acts.