by Tom Crouser
Case of the
The following story is based upon a number of situations. in the downstairs area, street-side. So they bought the
Names, locations, and other facts have been changed to illus- house and the print shop was free.
trate and simplify the case presented. As such, any resulting One of the advantages, they thought, was that there
similarity to any one business or person is coincidental. were no other printers in town. Hmm. They seemed to
overlook the fact that the town only had 400 permanent
he rules change in our kinds of businesses. There residents, although there were many events and festivals
are some 20,000 companies that raise capital on throughout the year which brought in tourists by the
the stock exchange, but there are 12-15 million tons—especially in the fall when the leaves were chang-
of us whose money is raised from the family: ing. That gave it the appearance of a much larger market.
from cash, credit, or sweat equity. Our big company breth- With the print shop came Denzel. He was the press
ren have rules everyone lives by and so do companies operator and truly was protective of his Ryobi 3302. Fact
our size. But they are not the same rules. Take the case of is, it was the cleanest press Michael had ever seen. But
Michael and Lisa and their press operator, Denzel. then, Michael really didn’t know what he was looking at.
Mike, in his prior life, spent 20 years in advertising and
public relations for a Fortune 500 company in Atlanta. Silver Cloud, Gray Lining
This job brought him in constant contact with printers, So the couple got the kids settled in school. Lisa took
and in his last post within the company he was the print over duties in the print shop as the graphics and writer-
buyer for the public relations department. type person, while Michael dealt with the big picture and
Lisa was a communications major in college and was Denzel printed. This is where it begins to get messy.
working for the same firm when she met Michael. Even Oh yes, there were problems with the market being
though they didn’t hit it off right away, their three years too small to support everyone, let alone a family with
of working on substantial projects together gave them two teenagers. And yes, there’s the question of how to
enough time to smooth over the rough edges. They were run a print shop, as well as the countless technical issues