History and Culture
Paul Doucette thought he was going to have a long career as an aircraft mechanic, but it became obvious to him that it wasn’t a good fit. He kept his wrenches, but converted to smaller machinery as a technician for the A.B. Dick Company. It’s certainly not a household brand now, but in the early 1980’s A.B. Dick was the primary supplier for a rapidly growing quick printing industry. Paul progressed from repairs to sales, and another lifelong relationship began – a love of all things print.
Circle Graphics, a family-owned duplicating shop on Huntington Avenue, was a regular customer. In 1982, Paul paid a visit to the owner in hopes of selling the latest equipment. The call didn’t turn out as planned. Recently widowed, the owner expressed an interest in selling the company. Paul did his homework. The company was growing and the location was perfect – in the middle of the expanding Longwood Medical District of Boston. Long story short, Paul bought the company.
His mechanical skills were useful at the new business. Paul carefully acquired a few pieces of used equipment, made some repairs, and began growing the small business. It was a simpler time. The machinery was straightforward and technology changed at a slower pace. Paul recruited a good team and began to spend his time developing a customer base.
The healthcare organizations in the area were receptive to his “can do” attitude, and local museums offered a growing market for the business. Brigham and Women’s Medical Center, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts became core accounts; business relationships were established that have endured now for over 30 years.
Ignoring the Paradigms
The 1990s brought economic expansion, but Paul didn’t think much of the prevailing attitudes toward customers:
In those days, you would regularly see a rough copy of a poster on printers’ counters. The illustration portrayed laughing cartoon figures with the caption, “You want it when?” Paul didn’t think that this was the correct theme for his business. The Print House didn’t try to provide everything to everybody, but sincerely worked to provide customers with the products they wanted with quick response times and with a very positive, helpful approach. Paul and his team tried to make it easy for their customers to do business and get the printed products they needed.
The Print House grew as new customers learned that they could rely on Paul and his team. The positive attitude also paid off in another way: the expanding business could afford to invest in new technology.
The Cutting Edge
The Print House had added copying equipment early on to meet the medical sector’s need for document reproduction. As digital printing technology advanced, the company kept pace, continuing to provide rapid response to growing demand.
Typesetting evolved into a new area, digital design, and the Print House found new clients who valued their creativity and precision. Again, the company took a different approach, going beyond the prepress operations that most printing companies developed to allow them to “fix” customer files. Instead, they recruited creative designers with the ability to produce a higher quality of art and design that their growing base of customers demanded.
Into the New Century
The turn of the century brought more rapid change. The Print House had worked with local mailing service companies to provide direct mail capability to their client base. The Print House had developed close working relationships with several area universities, and direct mail was a key part of the business.
Early in the 2000s, Doucette identified the potential that this area of business would have for the company in the digital age. Despite the development of online channels for outbound communication, he knew that direct mail would keep print relevant in the long term. Mailing services were brought in-house and the Print House has continued to develop capability for increasingly complex, data-driven mailing that allows customers to integrate direct mail with their online communications efforts.
At the same time, developments in both offset and digital color led the company to enhance their print capabilities. New digital presses improved quality and provided the ability to merge data for personalization. Automation and improvements in offset technology led to the addition of faster and more efficient presses, enabling lower costs for longer print runs.
It’s the Environment
In the early days, it was evident that the printing industry was faced with environmental issues. As an industry, we’ve come a long way. For my company, environmental responsibility has always been a key concern. We’ve always stayed a step ahead, improving processes and moving forward to reduce our environmental impact whenever we can.
Doucette always had a concern for the environmental impact of his printing operation. Recycling, converting to soy-based inks, and minimization of solvents in the production facilities were early steps. The Print House invested in FSC Certification in the early 2000s. Today, all waste paper is recycled and the company also purchases wind power credits to reduce their carbon footprint.
Supporting Our Team
Printing isn’t an easy business. Even with all of the technology and automation, it takes an excellent team to get projects done accurately and on time. The Print House has succeeded over the decades with dedication from our family of employees, and with a high degree of dedication returned to them. Many employees have been with the company over a decade, and you’ll find a few of their stories on this website.
Into the Future
Greg Doucette grew up in his Dad’s business. He recalls playing on rolls of paper as a kid and now carries Paul’s enthusiasm on to the next generation as an Account Manager for the Print House. He’s jumped in quickly to get involved with clients and to provide leadership for several new initiatives – managed inventory, promotional products, and online storefronts.
The company is positioned well for the future and the team is always excited about the potential for continued growth. Technology continues to change rapidly, providing new opportunities to provide value.
Products and services will continue change and improve, but our philosophy and our positive attitude will always stay the same – we’re always there for our customers.