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Published: Monday, 1/16/2006

Bedford printing family adjusts, adds special customer ad items

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Howard Lutman didn t want to follow the former Big Red Q Quickprint to California when the copying franchiser moved its headquarters from Toledo.

With no other options locally, Quickprint s onetime franchisee and later training director decided to set up his own shop again.

More than 25 years later, H.E.L.P. Printers has made some changes as it has steadily grown, but the basic philosophy of offering what customers need has remained.

Located in Bedford Township since expanding in 1999, the company still prints items for customers. A growing part of the family owned business, though, is providing specialty advertising items, including mugs, pens, magnetic calendars, staple removers, yard signs, and other promotional items with company information.

With the advent of desktop publishing and laser printing, many companies are handling more of their own printing needs, said Mr. Lutman, who is battling cancer and retired in 2004.

People don t always need ink on paper, said Carol Lutman, company president. They don t need that service anymore.

She added: The market just keeps changing. You either change with it, or you re lost. You re left out.

Scott s Commercial Truck Service in Toledo has been a customer of H.E.L.P. Printers for about 20 years. The firm prints Scott s invoices, letterhead, thank-yous, checks, brochures, and other materials and is very courteous and punctual, said Dona Scott, vice president.

Their quality is the best I ve ever seen, she said.

Scott s is one of more than 500 customers serviced by H.E.L.P., from home-based businesses to large corporations.

Most of our customers are other small businesses, said Mr. Lutman, who got his start in the printing business with Toledo s former Libbey-Owens-Ford Co. in 1957.

On the consumer side, printing flyers for garage sales and other events is not as common as it once was, either, because people have computers and printers in their homes, Mrs. Lutman said.

Yet one area that continues to attract consumers is wedding and graduation invitations, along with napkins, programs, and other similar products, she said.

Carbonless forms, business cards, manuals, labels, menus, envelopes, and tags are among other items the Michigan firm provides. Plus, the firm has a graphic designer who can draft logos and do other custom artwork.

Meanwhile, their son, Wayne Gamble, the firm s vice president, continues to scour suppliers such as BIC Corp. to find unique promotional items customers can use.

We want to have a one-stop shop, Mrs. Lutman said.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at: jmckinnon@theblade.com or 419-724-6087.

Small Business Profile is a weekly feature on local companies. To be considered, send information about your company to Small Business Profiles, Business News, The Blade, P.O. Box 921, Toledo, Ohio 43697-0921.



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