Creps United Publications: Fire Kindles Insert Printer's Spirit to Rebuild
Most of Creps' competitors were understanding, and offered their help. Other businesses circled the skies above Creps and went after their customers directly. As a testament to the company's ability to serve its clients, all but two of Creps' customers stuck with the hampered printer—not a shabby attrition rate.
One of the other essential ingredients in the rebuild was the hiring of a public adjustor to represent the printer from the insurance claim standpoint. That freed the Creps management team to focus its attention on the recovery process as opposed to finagling with claims.
"Looking back, there is no possible way we could have done this by ourselves," Howard Creps remarks. "These guys documented everything, down to the number of paper clips that were in someone's desk drawer."
The rebound wasn't without its painful moments. Virtually everyone from the production side, except for press operators, shift supervisors and those who worked at the Water Street building, were laid off, about 150 in all. The pressmen and supervisors were kept on even though there really wasn't any work for them, because the company couldn't afford to lose such critical, skilled employees. So they were rotated in and given busy work.
"It might have been the toughest thing we ever had to do," Jake Creps says of the layoffs.
Fortunately, the Indiana (PA) community was able to rally around the displaced employees. A Creps family friend orchestrated a fundraising campaign through local banks, providing the workers with needed money, especially with Christmas approaching. Another drive, through the Salvation Army, helped to get the workers back on their feet with money to pay for groceries and bills.
"It was very touching and gratifying to know you live in a real tight-knit community that cares enough to do that type of thing," Jake Creps observes.