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Gateway Printing -- Forging Good Relationships

June 2009 By Erik Cagle
Senior Editor
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IT DOESN'T take very long to figure out that relationships are fundamental to the core values of Mike Peissig. His life has been based on long-term commitments to people he trusts and believes in; the types of individuals he surrounds himself with share the same qualities of character and integrity as Peissig.

Peissig and wife, Jan, are co-owners of Gateway Printing, a $3.6 million commercial shop nestled in Missoula, MT, in the western portion of the state. While Montana may not have a reputation as a printing state, the Peissigs have done a fine job in establishing a high degree of credibility among print buyers. Aiding that cause is a small, but extremely well-trained, staff with in-depth knowledge of its trade.

"When it comes to our clientele, we maintain an open-door policy, even though it can slow things down from a productivity standpoint," Mike Peissig laughs. "Our employees are always communicating and working directly with customers. We explain processes such as prepress, have them ask questions and develop ideas with them. Our clients become enlightened and appreciative of what they've learned. It's good interaction. And it has really paid off in our developing exclusive relationships with customers."

A Turning Point

In 1995, the Peissigs acquired a 25 percent share in Gateway Printing, which had been established in 1965. Mike Peissig had worked for Artcraft Printers for 20 years and had become a general manager but, at the age of 40, he had reached a crossroads. It was time to either keep working for someone else, or take the plunge into owning his own shop.

The Peissigs bought out their other partner in 2000, and have been able to double the size of their business through shrewd equipment acquisitions and prudent upgrades of older technology, particularly in prepress. In 2000, Gateway acquired its first four-color press and, four years later, garnered its first Ryobi sheetfed press, a four-color, 20x27? 680 Series.

"We'd had good, steady growth of 8 percent to 10 percent a year, to the point where we justified buying the 684," Peissig says.

The 26-employee shop may be puffing at full steam, but the past year has been an exciting time of change for Gateway Printing. The company relocated to a 15,000-square-foot facility last September that Peissig completely renovated, including a new roof, insulation and HVAC. He notes the company's power bill is about the same as it was in the previous 10,000-square-foot building.


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