The Barnhart Group — Trumpeting Family Business

“I’ve really lived an amazing life. The thing I’ll remember most is the friendships I made with various artists.”—Brent Barnhart

On the Road Again

“I was never a kid. I was with adults constantly since the time I was 8 years old,” he says. “To this day, my best friends are in their 50s and 60s. In 2050, when I’m 80 years old, I’ll be talking about artists who were famous 120 years before that, like Roy Acuff.

“That’s why I published my life story. I was worried that if I didn’t write it down at the time, I wouldn’t remember it later. Without the documentation, people would think I was nuts, some senile guy.”

About five years ago, Barnhart decided to obtain the company founded by his great-grandfather, Charles Benjamin Barnhart. As a musician, the printing trade appealed to his creative side; as a result, The Barnhart Group has grown in ways the founder could not have imagined.

In addition to printing, the firm specializes in advertising marketing, commercial photography, publishing (its Styles magazine boasts 1.4 million readers annually), writing services and modeling.


“With the photography division and advertising marketing, you’ve got to have something to shoot,” Barnhart explains. “We started working with girls, teaching them how to be print models, and slowly built up a list of models we use. We want to work on developing that division, so (the models) can move on and make a career of it.”

The Barnhart Group consists of four divisions: printing, advertising marketing, publishing and direct mail (called Jetstream). Barnhart Printing consists of a small fleet of Heidelbergs—four- and five-color half-size perfecting presses. Having a single format size provides more versatility, as jobs can be run on any of the machines. It also saves on space from a footprint standpoint.

The printer has a long tradition of providing product labels, from paint, stain and varnish cans to retail and wholesale food labels. It also produces utility bill inserts, along with magazines and catalogs. The company touts the ability to lay out, design, print and then mail with in-line ink-jet addressing.

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