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Pizza Pie Makes Printer Flip Passions —Cagle

January 2011

As we welcome in another campaign, perhaps we should pause for a moment and reflect upon all of the employees and companies that no longer toil or conduct business in the printing industry. Shedding employees and companies is a necessary evil, and nature's way of keeping supply in line with demand.

As anyone who's ever lost their job can tell you, however, it's a difficult experience on many levels. And the loss of income is only the beginning. Some people become depressed and blame themselves, even when the layoff is random. There's an unwarranted stigma attached, and many people question their own value as months pass without landing an interview, let alone a job offer.

On the flip side, there is life after printing. We recently found a tale about a Minnesota man, Jeff Eckert, who set aside his nearly 20 years of service to the printing industry in order to follow a dream. Eckert wanted to own a pizzeria. In one fell swoop, Eckert and his partner went from large format to deep dish by purchasing an Original Red's Savoy Pizza franchise in Oak Park Heights, MN.

Eckert's claim to fame lies in his rotating pizza oven, which can cook upwards of 25 pies at one time. According to Eckert, there's only one other such oven in the state of Minnesota. Yes, regardless of the industry, it is critical to boast equipment that can differentiate your business from the competition. It also helps that Eckert uses nothing but premium ingredients.

Another staple of successful business is ingratiating yourself to the local community as a way of repaying their patronage. Savoy Pizza donates excess pizza to the local food bank, gives the Boy Scouts its cardboard and acts as a supplier to groups that sell the pizza as a fundraiser.

"Overall, it's been pretty good," Eckert told the Stillwater Gazette. "I'm still getting people saying, 'I never knew you were here.' "

The next time you're in Oak Park Heights, MN, stop in to say hello to a former fellow printer who has found a new calling.

Suffice to say, there will always be a market for pizza, America's happy food.

NOT-SO-GREAT DANES: The "something" that is rotten in Denmark apparently has been traced back to a printer in Turkey.

According to the Copenhagen Post, police have unearthed a potentially massive case involving counterfeit tickets that holders can use for travel on buses and trains in that city. Last fall, Danish tax officials intercepted a package from Turkey that contained nearly 10,000 bogus "klippekort" two-zone tickets. The tickets carried a value of 1.3 million kroner, or roughly (U.S.) $233,000.

Authorities in Turkey arrested three people in the city of Izmir, which is home to the illicit printer, according to the Post. Police raided seven Copenhagen kiosks and found the phony transit passes in six of them. All of the owners of the kiosks were charged with fraud. Two other people, with family ties in Turkey, were arrested for allegedly masterminding the operation.

How were the ersatz tickets discovered? The halo is missing above the 'a' in the word 'pa' on the back of the pass. Presumably, according to the newspaper, the Turkish company had difficulties in printing the Danish words.

PAPA WAS A ROLLIN' COUNTERFEITER: Let this serve as notice to one and all: Mess with Waffle House, and your rear end is bound for jail.

Drifter/druggie Bret Rhind found that out the hard way when his cross-country escapades with girlfriend Debra Roberson—which included a nine-month, 19-state methamphetamine and counterfeiting jag—ended in front of a St. Louis judge, who threatened to toss Rhind in the pokey for a 25-year stint after he pleaded guilty.

Rhind, 42, of Florida, was busted in Bridgeton, MO, following a traffic stop. Police found meth-lab components, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, along with a laptop, two printers, paper and rolls of tape—sure signs of a counterfeiter. Police also found Rhind and Roberson to be in possession of bogus bills.

Rhind, who has drifted since 1999 (except for a four-year prison stretch on a previous counterfeiting conviction) estimates he printed nearly $900,000 worth of funny money. He passed the money to pay for drug materials, drugs, motel bills and, apparently, hotcakes and sausages.

Rhind was told he would have to pay restitution to Waffle House and other verified victims.

That's the least of Rhind's problems. He faces up to 25 years in jail when sentenced Feb. 25. Roberson pleaded guilty in October and is scheduled to be sentenced this month.

See what happens when the quality of print suffers? You become doomed to the life of a gypsy drug dealer. PI —Erik Cagle



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