“I have always been in business for myself. Even when I was working for someone else, I worked like the business was mine.” Those are the words of Jim Davis, owner of The Print Shop at 1020 Leesburg Ave. in Washington C.H.
Jim was born and raised in Fayette County. He received his business education at Miami University, but he learned how to do business by watching his dad, Gordon Davis, interact with others. Throughout Jim’s life, his father was always quietly demonstrating a successful work ethic.
“At the age of 12, Dad helped get me a job selling ice cream from a cart on my bike,” he said. “The cart was loaded with Cudahy goodies. I was the most popular kid in the Belle Aire neighborhood! I’d ring the bell on my bike and kids would come running for ice cream. I made two cents on each cone I sold. I was always entrepreneurial.” There is a smile on Jim’s face. This writer is not sure if it is the memory of riding that ice cream route or of his dad. Maybe a bit of both.
Shares Jim, “You have to be looking ahead all the time. I always knew I would want my own business. After college, I started looking around for a business of my own.” In 1989, Jim approached Bill and Tish Newton, the owners of The Print Shop when it was located on State Route 41 North (North Street). They agreed to sell Jim the business over a period of seven years.
Jim admits he knew nothing about printing. But, he learned as he went. His first job was to run the press. “And,” adds Jim, “since I grew up in Fayette County, making deliveries was easy.”
“Everything was very different back in the beginning,” Jim remembers. “We still used cameras and plates. We had a dark room and a plate press. The order you ran today you let dry and you cut it the next morning.” There have been huge changes in the printing business over that last 27 years. With today’s technology, you push a button and you have a finished product. Says Jim, “From plate presses and dark rooms to today’s four- color process on a digital press is an entirely different process. We can offer so much more product to our customers and deliver it sooner.”
One of the primary things Jim learned about business was that of taking care of staff and customers. Jim knew that by taking care of his staff he would be benefiting his customers.
With the business growing, Jim bought the corner lot at Leesburg Avenue and Fairview in 1998. Construction started on the new building in April of 1999 and the new doors opener in December of 1999.
Not only has Jim Davis and his staff grown the business in southern Ohio, they have gone national. The Print Shop did a printing job for a man in Nevada and he talked to a man in Minnesota who called Jim to place an order. According to Jim, “Word of mouth is still a great way to do business!”
“You have to be looking ahead all the time.” Remember those words from earlier in this story? Now those words are bringing a new owner to The Print Shop, Andy Daniels.
Andy Daniels and his family moved to Fayette County when Andy was 13 years old. His parents agreed to allow him to finish his high school years at Westfall (Pickaway County) High School. Upon graduation, Andy headed to Miami University. He comes to The Print Shop with business experience. He worked at Rapp’s True Value Hardware store in Mt. Sterling and as an RA while at Miami. Andy is also part owner in a software company. He brings a very similar work attitude to his new business: “If I am going to work hard, I want it to be for me not someone else. I was looking for a family-style business. I brought my Dad with me on the first look-see. I didn’t make it out of the front room before I had made my decision. This, the Print Shop, was exactly the type business I was looking for.”
“ I know very little about the printing business but I am learning how to price jobs, how to conduct business, and how to do business in a small town. Jim is a great teacher and mentor. I am learning all the time, asking questions all the time. The better I understand this business, all of the processes, the better I can help my customers.”
“The Print Shop has a great staff.” Knowing your staff ,“ adds Andy, “is key to running a successful business. When your staff is great and your customers are loyal, that’s how you build a business. When you sell the service and not the price, you are successful.”
“Everyone I have met has been warm and welcoming,” adds Andy. “Jim will be here for the next two years. We are both looking forward to a smooth transition.” Jim and Andy both agree that business as usual is going on.
One feature of The Print Shop Andy Daniels will not have is Gordon Davis. When Gordon retired from the post office, he frequently helped Jim by making some of the deliveries to customers. When deliveries were done, Gordon had his own chair by a front window and from that vantage point he would greet all the customers who entered the store. This writer believes Jim Davis, when not travelling with his wife, would fit nicely in that chair.
The community is invited to stop in to meet Andy and to congratulate both Jim and Andy on their new roles.