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A True Appreciation For Roy Grossman —Cagle

June 2008
IT WAS a sad morning in early May when a press release crossed my desk announcing that Roy Grossman, president and CEO of Sandy Alexander in Clifton, NJ, would be stepping down at the end of the month. Executives come and go—then sometimes reappear a few years down the line—so theoretically Grossman’s departure is no big deal. But this magazine and the printing community have lost a great friend—hopefully a temporary situation.

The man is Journalism 101, pure gold. Roy Grossman doesn’t “tell it like it is” because he doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, but he’s never been afraid to “tell it like he sees it.”

Roy always allows for the possibility that he may be wrong on a point but, because he’s so reasonable and straightforward, I frankly can’t remember him being wrong.

The beauty of Mr. Grossman is his willingness to talk on relevant industry topics, both candidly and without PC (politically correct) fanfare. Maybe PC isn’t the right word, but he never sought to gloss over subjects or offer answers lined with executive fluff.

In the world of B2B reporting, we’re often fed polished, well-rehearsed answers. Roy thinks out loud and considers the opposing viewpoint. He is the exception to the rule, a reminder that rules often need to be changed.

But this isn’t about Grossman making my job easier. He is as great a friend to the printing community as exists today. Before the industry exploded into “me, too” status with greening initiatives and environmental sustainability, there was Sandy Alexander—far ahead of the curve—talking about responsibility to the planet and purchasing its electric power from clean and renewable, wind-generated sources. Want to know the next big trend? Pay attention to what Sandy Alexander is doing.

Roy is also a crusader in the fight against commodity pricing and is rightfully proud of his company’s refusal to resort to throat-cutting tactics. Here it may be a stretch to expect the rest of the industry to fall in line, but there’s always hope.

There’s also hope that Grossman will return to a printing company near you, an option he wouldn’t rule out (“after all, it’s what I know”). For now, he’s going to take some time, recharge his jets and decide upon his next course of action.

“[Sandy Alexander] has really been my whole career,” Grossman said by phone the day of the announcement. “I’m thrilled to try something else...I’m leaving with mixed emotions. I love the people and the culture here.”

Given the kindness and friendship he has always offered those around him, there’s no doubt he’ll be missed at Sandy. And it’s going to be a tall order finding other printers who will take up the cause of issues that impact your long-term survival. Any volunteers?

APROPOS TO NOTHING: We’ve found a fun way for the office crew or the semi-busy third shift to kill some time. Why not test the creative waters by entering the Post-it Notes “One Million Uses and Counting” contest, a global consumer video sweepstakes on YouTube (hey, there it is again).

The contest, which began in March and continues through the middle of July, is aimed at getting entrants to push the creative self-adhesive notepad and visually demonstrate the many ways one can use Post-it Notes.

Contestants will shoot a short video starring the sensational stickies and upload it to the Post-it YouTube channel. Creativity and intelligent use of different sizes, colors and shapes of Post-it Notes will be the judging criteria.

Grand prize is $10,000, with second and third places netting $2,500 and $1,500, respectively. The top 10 finalists will each receive a laptop computer valued at $1,000.

To enter, upload your short video to by July 14. Winners will be announced the end of September.

LITTLE GUY: This writer hasn’t needed to purchase printing in quite a while, but when a poster was required to promote an in-store signing for my new novel, I immediately called a national chain of quick printers to help me out.

Don’t know why, but the name of this mega printer just jumped to mind. It made me take pause.

Feeling guilty and wanting to help out a mom-and-pop establishment, I cancelled the order and found a place closer to home. After all, the big chain didn’t need my money. Small business is the lifeblood of America, damn it, and I wasn’t going to let that apple pie rot on the window sill (cue up John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Pink Houses”). My little bit of business may enable Joe and Debbie Stitcher- head to afford an extra week at the Jersey Shore this summer. At $45.90 for a 20x28˝ poster on bond paper, laminated and mounted to foam board, I was doing my part for the economic stimulus cause.

Righteous and true did I feel en route to the printer! But upon arriving there minutes before closing time, on the eve of my signing, I learned they’d forgotten to print it. The shop had to stay open an extra half-hour to put it together. Guess I should’ve asked for a $10 credit on my next order, eh?

Stop giggling at me, Kinko’s. PI

—Erik Cagle

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