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Phillips Printing — Passionate by Accident

January 2008 by Cheryl Adams
Managing Editor
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ABSOLUTELY NOT! That was Jody Phillips’ response when his parents asked him to help at their newly opened print shop. Phillips, a college student at the time, was not going to be drawn into the family business. He had big plans for his future, and they did not involve being a printer.

However, being the good son, he eventually (but begrudgingly) agreed to help them. . .but only for the summer. But, one summer is all it took. Phillips fell in love with the craft, the technology and the opportunity. And, the rest is history.

That was 1984. Today, Phillips owns the small Ocala, FL-based company his parents started, serving as president and general manager. Although he “stumbled” into his occupation, he is passionate about his accidental career.

His operation consists of eight employees (including himself, his wife and his sister) and a 4,000-square-foot facility. Although he won’t reveal the annual revenues at Phillips Printing, he notes that profitability runs about 25 percent per year. He has a formula for attaining those financial figures, but, Phillips says, there’s one big reason his business is thriving, not just surviving.

“When you’re a smaller printer like we are, you go the extra mile, no matter what it takes.”

Such is the case, recalls Phillips, with an infamous all-nighter for his team. The Ocala Historical Preservation Society contracted Phillips to print elaborate invitations, which involved intricate diecuts and spot metallic inks. The invitations were for the Society’s gala event, “Putting on the Ritz.” The Flapper Girls on the invitation were to be adorned in feathers, a part of the project that was to be outsourced.

However, the day before the event, the feathers were not delivered. But, “the show” would go on...if the Phillips family had anything to do with it. This project wasn’t going to flop (instead of flap) in the last critical minutes.

“We told the guy in charge of the project, ‘Get the job back to us, and we’ll get it done. You just have to find some feathers.’ As it turns out, the guy snuck into his wife’s closet and stole a black feather boa. We stayed up all night, gluing feathers on the invitations,” Phillips affectionately recalls, noting, “We ended up winning a Gold Addy award for those invitations.”

Why does Phillips do these sorts of things? In his words: “Because that’s what I’d want someone to do for me.”


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