Superior Bindery — A Cut Above
"I wanted to start on my own and try to build a company with my vision rather than try to change an existing company's philosophy," Donny Charlebois explains. "I had a vision of a better finisher that focused on customer service, and worked in partnership with printers. I also felt there was significant work available, if printers would give me a chance. I was 22 and had nothing to lose."
|Brothers Robert and Donny Charlebois with their sister Christine Charlebois Brennan.|
Charlebois channeled a lot of time and resources into the company during its first eight years, and was aided by his brother, Robert (diecutting), and sister, Christine Charlebois Brennan (general manager). Those early years saw a good deal of 14-plus-hour days as the family aimed to grow the company.
Acquisitions would follow, bringing aboard the key employees and customer lists of former competitors such as J&M Finishing, Trade Bindery, North Shore Graphics, Pearl Bookbinding, Area Trade and Baystate Bindery. Area Trade/Baystate was acquired last November in perhaps the biggest bindery transaction of 2002.
According to Rob Charlebois, bringing the family unit to work has been an interesting and rewarding experience. "But it's a good thing that we have all these buildings, so we're separated from each other," Rob jokes. "When I first started, we'd all leave the house and meet each other at work. We all have our own building, our own thing now. But (working together) really means a lot to us."
Charlebois Brennan believes the family influence, backed by dedicated workers, has enabled Superior Bindery to develop special relationships with longtime clients.
"We still have the same customers that put Superior on the map 12 years ago," she says. "We've never forgotten where we came from and the fact that we started from the ground up. Donny has taught me and reminds everyone that without the little guys, there would be no Superior. We have made a tremendous amount of loyal friends and customers, and have very special relations with our clients and treat them as family."
|It's business as usual for Corona binder operator Mark Backiel, shown on the left, and Plant Manager Prepetit Joseph.|