Hurricane Katrina — After the Storm
Another case of once competitors putting their heads (’er, and businesses) together is that of Harvey-Hauser Printing, whose namesake is derived from the merger of Harvey Press and Hauser Printing.
Harvey Press, established in 1928, was a web and sheetfed printer with about $9 million in annual sales. Jerry Hudgens, former co-owner of Harvey Press and present operations manager of Harvey-Hauser, details the accidental beginning of a beautiful relationship.
Hurricane Katrina left Harvey Press with gaping holes in the roof, walls blown in and much of it underwater. The plant was destroyed, and none of the equipment was salvageable, including three 40˝ (Heidelberg and Komori) sheetfed presses and two half-webs. The entire operation and its 75 years of history were gone.
“There was nothing we could do,” adds Brian David, president/co-owner of Harvey-Hauser. “Our main focus was to continue business by outsourcing to two printers (that, as a precaution before Katrina, we lined up as a backup) in Little Rock.”
From a small satellite office in Mandeville, LA, Harvey Press became a broker, of sorts. Customers were called to let them know the printer was still in business (albeit outsourcing its work) and to give them the new contact information for the company.
Harvey Press outsourced for about three months, but the execs realized they couldn’t continue conducting business like this for an extended period. The printer needed to get back into manufacturing locally, so David and his partner, Kevin Alker, started looking for another printer locally that it could merge with.
Some companies, like Hauser Printing, were open for business and able to work, but had lost their client bases. After Katrina, Hauser was getting most of its work through brokers. Since Harvey Press was already acting as a broker (post-Katrina), Hudgens and David believed Hauser’s equipment, services and capabilities fit well with Harvey Press.