14 November 2012
Commercial Print-Craft looks ahead to 75th anniversary
WOODSTOCK, ON—Commercial Print-Craft Ltd. in Southwestern Ontario is celebrating its 75th anniversary next year, and plans are underway for a special summer picnic for both current staff and past team members and their families.

Started by childhood friends Tom Young and George Tait in 1938, the printer's story began with sheetfed, said director Tom Downing.

Commercial Print-Craft in its earlier days

The company was an early adopter of colour drum scanners back when such machines were only found in film houses, and in 1974 it added a web complement. By the '80s, the company had a bindery, a web press, and two 4-colour sheetfeds spread over two locations. In 1981 it moved everything into one new location, and in 2001 doubled the size of the plant.

"We're strictly web printers now," Downing said, summing up Commercial's journey. "We used to do anywhere from 7500 to 10,000 scans a year. Now it's more like 75 to 100. It's a completely different business."

Today Commercial Print-Craft specializes in catalogues and does a lot of work for arts festivals including the Shaw Festival and the Stratford Festival.

Downing is the husband of co-founder Young's granddaughter, Mary. Their sons, Andrew and Matt, and nephew, Tom, are also involved in the business -- the fourth generation of family employees.

As for the secret to Commercial's longevity, Downing said it's no different from any other successful business venture. "Fiscal responsibility, financially reinvesting at the right time and not over-extending yourself, and making the right purchases at the right time," he said.
— Jef Catapang
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