Wisconsin Printers — Life in the Badger State

There’s more to life for Wisconsin printers than beer, brats and cheese. As shown above at Ripon Printers, motorcycles are a crowd pleaser, too.

But not all closures are weather related, according to John Berthelsen, president of Suttle-Straus in Waunakee. “The paper mills only close down operations two days out of the year—Christmas Day and the opening of deer hunting season,” he notes. “What does that say about Wisconsin workers?”

Clearly, they enjoy working hard and playing hard. Deer hunting season is circled on many calendars. Webcrafters of Madison closes on Wednesday during the week of Thanksgiving and is shut down through Saturday.

“They don’t just hunt deer; they eat venison,” notes Kip Frautschi, vice president of marketing and planning for Webcrafters. “It’s nearly a religion for folks around here, and it’s part of the experience of living in Wisconsin. We’d be waist deep in deer if we couldn’t hunt.”

Some people argue that a true test of a person’s character comes during times of adversity. Quad/Graphics certainly saw that during the summer of 2002, following the sudden death of founder Harry V. Quadracci. Only weeks earlier, a collapsed racking system caused a massive fire at Quad’s Lomira plant, resulting in the death of a contract worker. The fire also destroyed a significant amount of work.

Even though Quad dwarfs most of its fellow Wisconsin printers in size and sales, that didn’t stop the competition from coming forward to offer their services in a time of need for the Quadraccis. Fire companies within a 30-mile radius rotated shifts around the clock for nearly a week, rubbing out flareups. And many fellow printers paid their respects in person when Joel Quadracci’s father passed away a short time later.

“While we may be competitors, we’re also compatriots, and we often realize that our stiffest competition is not necessarily from each other, but from other forms of media,” Quadracci says. “Together, we can make print stronger and better than ever.” PI

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