Landoll Inc.--Never Give Up, No Matter What
In the equipment area, Landoll says the company is engineering new methods of production controls that are tailored to individual products—although he is reluctant to discuss details.
"For competitive reasons, I would never reveal my secrets to anyone," he says. "Because we make improvements on an ongoing basis, employees may not recognize the technological advances that have been implemented in the systems."
In the early years of the business, Landoll personally trained his employees to run the equipment. Now new generations of employees are teaching each other those skills.
Landoll initially honed his engineering skills on Ford's assembly line. But it was his true love—to publish children's books—that inspired him to quit Ford in 1971.
Landoll switched gears to a new career: He started his own print operation. With a $5 bill in his pocket, Landoll set up shop in an attic. His desk consisted of two 1-gallon paint cans turned upside down with a board across them. His chair was the wooden floor. Here his initial business plan was created.
In the Beginning...
Landoll began by brokering his artwork out to a printer who gave him a line of credit. The printer constantly delivered late, then Landoll found out why. The printer had created a competing line of products, then contacted Landoll's clients (after obtaining their names from Landoll's shipping bills) and started selling to them direct. The lost sales almost sank Landoll's business.
Believing in himself every step of the way, Landoll rededicated himself to a "once-and-for-all success with children's books." He bought a small printing operation in a 2,100-square-foot garage. The building had no heat or insulation, so Landoll rigged an old wood-burning stove to warm the frosted ink.
In 1981, Landoll married Marta Myers. Her brother, Marty Myers, became Landoll's best man, in more ways than one. Myers joined the business in 1982, took over sales and became company president.