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AJ IMAGES--All in the Family

March 2001
BY SCOTT POLK


The seeds of the relationship that drives one of the country's fastest growing printing companies were sown nearly 60 years ago on a rooftop in Newark, NJ.

That's where Arnold Greebel's parents would take him on nice days—allowing the toddler to bask in the sunlight and soak in the panoramic views such a vantage point provides. Sometimes, as his parents would relate to him years later, Greebel would cast his eyes to a nearby building, where a young Janet Biddelman was also enjoying the weather from a rooftop carriage.

Fast forward some 20 years later. Arnold had earned an engineering degree from Farleigh Dickinson University and was working for a chemical packaging company. Janet, meanwhile, had finished her studies in accounting at Boston University and had recently purchased Whitcomb Printing in Roselle, NJ. Both single, their lives were about to change drastically thanks to a blind date.

"Our families knew each other and my cousin was friendly with Janet," Arnold recalls. "I knew of her, but our parents weren't that close."

So the engineer and the accountant were fixed up; they went out that evening in 1966 for a romantic dinner and dancing. It must have been romantic, because they married only two months later. "We just hit it off," Janet declares.

Thirty-five years after that blind date, the Greebels are still together. "It's kind of strange, but the business has helped to keep us together, believe it or not, because we have so much in common," Janet notes. And their union is paying off in many ways. AJ Images enjoyed a sales growth rate of 112 percent in 1999 and 2000 was also a very successful year.

In the Beginning
Whitcomb Printing started life as a broker, farming out the production of business cards. It was Arnold's idea to change Whitcomb into a full-fledged printer, so the couple purchased a Multi and a letterpress, and set up a shop in their basement.

"The first big move was just getting out of the basement and into a small office building," Janet recalls. "I never thought it would grow like this."

Before long, however, Arnold decided to start his own company and, in 1967, Dimensional Graphics—a traditional prepress business—was born. Throughout the 1970s, Dimensional generated nearly twice as much income as Whitcomb and Arnold became a prominent member of the New Jersey Typographers Association, serving as its president from 1978 to 1981.

In 1979, the Greebels purchased one of twin side-by-side, 5,000-square-foot buildings to house Whitcomb. Eight years later, they acquired the neighboring building for Dimensional.

 

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