Bindery 1 Inc. — Finishing’s First Family
THE HISTORY behind full-service finishing provider Bindery 1 Inc., of Des Moines, IA, is a tale based on the American Dream. Seeking a land of opportunity, Eric and Lorraine Rokitnicki immigrated from Poland to the United States in 1963. Eric found work at a commercial printer within its folding department, while his wife gained employment as a registered nurse.
Eric had a natural knack for folding, and enjoyed the challenges of pushing a machine to its limits with projects that were thought to be impossible to complete. He made the most of his talents and, in 1976, started Bindery 1 with two employees, a folder and a cutter.
Shortly thereafter, Rokitnicki realized that a new facility was necessary. So he purchased a 13,000-square-foot building and ventured into other areas of postpress services solely for the trade. The company continued to diversify by adding additional equipment and employees to maximize capacity and offer more finishing services.
Daughter Gigi Toporek, company president for the past decade, was exposed to the business at an early age, helping out around the office and in the production department. In 1988, Gigi became involved full-time with the family business, learning all aspects of the industry.
With this experience, she was able to understand how to handle paper, the capabilities of the equipment and what factors make a quality finished piece, Toporek recalls.
“With the knowledge gained from the production floor, I was able to advance into other parts of the business,” she notes. “Throughout the years, I’ve been able to anticipate customers’ needs and act upon them by taking whatever means necessary.”
In 1993, Bindery 1 entered the mailing services market, starting with two labelers and three inserters. In the late 1990s the mailing side expanded into laser personalization with black and highlight color capabilities. Throughout the years, the company added more capabilities, including custom fulfillment, ink-jet, polybagging and CD-ROM services.