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Specer Press--Independent Thinking

August 1998
In this age of mergers and acquisitions,
Spencer Press stands alone.



BY JERRY JANDA


As companies like Consolidated Graphics and World Color continue to absorb plants across the country, printing purists may wonder what the future holds for the family-run businesses that form the backbone of our industry. Such purists should consider taking a trip to Spencer Press in picturesque Wells, ME.

Name: Spencer Press
Location: Wells, ME
Employees: 650
Annual Sales: $85 million
Key Markets: Catalogs, books, brochures, inserts and magazines.
A family business since opening in 1940, Spencer Press is, and intends to remain, privately owned. So proclaims the company's second-generation leaders: brothers John E. Spenlinhauer III and Stephen P. Spenlinhauer.

Chairman and CEO John oversees manufacturing. President Stephen handles sales and marketing. Both want to keep the company—an $85 million operation that specializes in web offset printing—free from an acquisition.

The independent attitude of the Spenlinhauer siblings is as refreshing as the crisp Maine air—and the brothers wouldn't have it any other way. As consolidation drives down the number of independent shops, Spencer savors its privately held status.

Independent Advantages
In the eyes of the Spenlinhauers, independent ownership brings certain competitive advantages. Stephen points out that, unlike larger printing companies with multiple facilities, Spencer does all of its work under one roof, so customers don't have to worry about their jobs being bounced between plants. And when clients have questions, they can rely on the same customer service reps.

"They feel some security in knowing that they are dealing with one company with one location," Stephen says. "There's no reason why we can't be as competitive as the larger guys, but yet have a more friendly atmosphere."

Customers not only appreciate Spencer's friendliness, but also its flexibility. There are no large boards, no big committees calling the shots at Spencer. Decisions get made fast. This makes Spencer very attractive to print buyers who don't want to deal with a massive printing conglomerate grown from consolidation. In fact, Spencer is so in demand, the company has had trouble keeping up with all the work.

"We turned down a substantial amount of business since January of this year," Stephen says. "Some of it was contract work from existing clients, and some of it was new work. So to service both of these needs, we decided to add new equipment."





 

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