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Stolze Printing--In the Trenches

September 2000
This St. Louis-based printer believes a hands-on, personalized approach is the key to success.


BY CAROLINE MILLER


When Philip Stolze walks into his printing company, he's ready to roll up his sleeves and go to work; and that's not just a figure of speech at Stolze Printing. Whether it's a problem with a piece of equipment or a plumbing leak at the 20,000-square-foot Stolze facility, you're likely to find company founder and President Philip Stolze out on the floor trying to fix the problem. "I am out there with my guys in my work clothes getting dirty. I'm a very hands-on kind of person," Stolze remarks, who has a background in maintenance.

This hands-on philosophy goes to the very core of Stolze and his St. Louis-based business. He and his 36 employees believe in a personalized approach in everything they do, especially when it comes to their clientele. "We really work on a personal level with our customers. When our customers come in for press checks there are several faces they feel comfortable with, not just their salesperson," he reports.

Stolze also prides himself on the company's adherence to strict standards. "We make sure our people have the best equipment to work with. We set up strict maintenance schedules to keep all our equipment calibrated and in like-new condition. We set strict standards for quality, so our people know what is, and is not, acceptable," Stolze says.

This commitment to service and quality keeps clients like Anheuser-Busch, Boeing and Monsanto coming back again and again, he explains. "We have a complex system of checks and balances. All proofs are checked by both the salespeople and the job coordinators. Every job is okayed on-press by the press foreman or the coordinator," describes Stolze.

The desire to be heavily involved in every aspect of his business began as a necessity and has slowly grown into an obsession.

Stolze Printing was founded in 1984 after MidAmerica Printing—the web printer that Stolze had worked for—decided it was moving out of St. Louis. Stolze was offered the chance to move with the company. It was a tempting offer. After all, he had spent 13 years with MidAmerica. But, in the end, Stolze and his wife decided that they did not want to leave their families, so they decided to try it on their own.

Before joining MidAmerica, Stolze had run a small printing business, which he had closed when he joined MidAmerica. "We had always wondered 'what-if' we hadn't closed our previous business. With a second opportunity, we figured now was the time to find out," Stolze remembers.
 

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