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Beck's has been operating out of the city-owned Windsor Mill for the 25 years with John Haskins owning it for 18.

Beck's Printing Owner Celebrating 18th Year

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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Haskins traces his interest in printing back to his days at Drury High School.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — While the Windsor Mill has seen its share of businesses move in and out, one owner is quietly celebrating his 18th year that included doubling the size of the shop and employment just a year ago.

Feb. 1 will mark 18 years since John Haskins purchased Beck's Printing. Haskins has been the man behind the press providing everything from envelopes to business cards to posters to architectural plans for nearly every city business.

"You'd be hard pressed to find a business in the area that we're not doing business with in some capacity," Haskins said. "Any ink on paper that you can think of, we can do. We don't job anything out; we do it all here on site."

Haskins traces his interest in printing back to Drury High School, where he took graphic design classes. From there he went on to work for a competing shop and about eight years into it he found himself running the entire business. He then bought Beck's.

"The opportunity presented itself and it was time to make a move," Haskins said on Tuesday.

He retained the customers Beck's had before his arrival and has slowly grown. Mostly through word of mouth, he has become a go-to person for local businesses and beyond.

"We've had our ups and downs with the economy but business has always grown consistently," he said. "Business definitely increased from year to year."

When Staples closed, taking its printing division with them, Haskins saw an increase in business. Shortly after, with the Kolok Gallery having moved out of the space next door, he expanded. He leased out that space, which doubles his square-footage, and brought on two to three more employees — an increase from just him and his son during the toughest economic times. He then invested more than $150,000 to create a digital print division.

Last year, Beck's added a second division to its operations, which doubled the number of employees and square footage.

"We had a very strong second half of 2012 once everything was up and running and that has continued so far in 2013. It allowed us to diversify what we offer," Haskins said. "It brought in a lot of new customers and we were able to offer more to our existing ones."

When asked what the key to his success is, Haskins said it is all about being a "working owner."

"I still run the press. I still make a lot of the deliveries," Haskins said.

And the biggest challenge is keeping up with technology. When Haskins first started he was printing items as simple as resumes for customers but since those are now done at home, his work has become much more complicated. Additionally, the printing equipment constantly improves requiring even more investment.

"We're competing with the Internet and winning every day," Haskins said.

Offering such services as an on-site graphic designer to follow the project from beginning to end is what keeps customers coming back.

With one expansion in the books, Haskins said he doesn't have another expansion in the works yet. But, he is "far from calling it quits" and always on the lookout for growth opportunities.

Tags: printing,   small business,   

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