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Superior Bindery -- A Cut Above

March 2003
By Erik Cagle


The trade bindery business is doing just fine, thank you, despite whispers of its imminent demise. Superior Bindery is proof positive that there is a viable place for companies that specialize in comprehensive, full-service binding and finishing services.

For all the talk of commercial printers looking for ways to add value to their core competencies and becoming one-stop shops (right down through binding and finishing), the Northeast has become a fertile feeding ground for Hingham, MA-based Superior Bindery, owned by Donny Charlebois, the son of a successful Boston-based bindery operator. Just 20 minutes south of Boston, Superior Bindery realized more than $12.5 million in sales combined with sister company Baystate Bindery, formerly among its largest competitors and one of a half-dozen businesses absorbed by Charlebois since the company opened its doors in late 1990.

The company is not only surviving, but thriving, in an environment that has witnessed a lot of Charlebois' competition disappear, a number of which have dealt assets, customer lists and even employees to Superior Bindery. Charlebois tips his cap to Superior's 176 employees for playing a large role in its success.

A People Industry

"I realized early on that this industry is really all about the marriage of quality people and state-of-the-art equipment," Charlebois says. "Regardless of the quality of equipment, it is the people running it that make the difference. Their knowledge not only ensures that the job is done properly, it has allowed us to go into new areas or try a type of finishing that we hadn't done before.

"We have invested a significant amount of resources into our employees, and they have met their end of the bargain," he adds. "Because our people carry the burden of actually doing the work that the customer requires, we make sure that they have the tools to do the job properly. I have instilled a commitment to excellence since day one of our company."

Since many of Superior Bindery's customers are looking to complete challenging finishing tasks, and/or need a job turned around in short order, Charlebois and company have always stressed high quality and customer service. Charlebois extends to his clientele the willingness to tackle challenges 24/7. This is augmented by a commitment to the constant enhancement of Superior's equipment dossier. In the last two years alone, Charlebois has acquired a Muller Martini Prima stitcher, two Bobst diecutters, a Muller Martini Tigra perfect binder for short runs and three new Stahl folders.
 

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