Pearson Printing Draft
All works are currently unfinished
IU US H106
19 May 2008
Pearson Printing is a family business that has been contributing to Grant County’s economy ever since 1939. What started as a small building and a few family members has managed to thrive and develop a vast customer base without losing the original essence of the business. Without modern luxuries of computers and phones at the commencement, the businesses’s success heavily relied on the willingness of owners like Skip Pearson to go the extra mile. Despite the absence of technology, the Pearson’s worked hard to make sure their trade would achieve something great(Pearson).
Harold Pearson, who had worked for other businesses previously, began his own printing business in 1939 in a rented building and soon built his own across the street in 1941. When Harold’s sons Skip and Darrell graduated from high school, they took over the business at the ages of 17 and 18 in the year of 1948. What may have seemed like a daunting task was actually an honor to them. They were grateful to have a position of ownership in a family business they had been helping with for so long. But soon there would be only one owner again, when Skip’s brother Darrell left the business to pursue a line of business in ministry. In 1951, Skip was drafted into the Army and served in Korea until 1953. During this time Darrell ran the business then promptly returned to college and attended classes at Wheaton College in 1954. The business continued to stay in the family with just a few workers, including Skip’s wife who came in for half days. Later, they had a family of their own, and their son Kevin proudly took over the business in 1996. Kevin previously pursued other interests including teaching and coaching. Skip did not retire at this point, and still remains involved in aspects of the business today. The family constantly made sacrifices for one another, all to keep the business moving in the direction Harold Pearson professed so many years earlier (Pearson).
The time when Harold chose to start his own business could not have been more opportune. Skip Pearson vividly recalls the days when South Marion was bustling with industry and about eight grocery stores were in business. Countless industries were flourishing in South Marion and Pearson’s was the business to deal with. A few of the businesses Pearson Printing worked for were RCA, Delta Electric, and Belfiber Products. All of these corporations were in constant need of paper supplies for factory forms, labels, and envelopes, to name a few. When World War II commenced, it affected the industry quite a bit. Materials were rationed and it was unbelievably hard to get the amount of paper necessary for the business to run at its customary high standard. Despite this setback, Pearson Printing remained involved with the factories because the demand continued to be high. The main reason they could all stay in business was because the factories were on war production and they had the same paper needs, but understood the struggle for availability of products. When the business first opened, Harold saw it crucial and advantageous to purchase a printing press for his new building. Because of the wartime cutbacks and difficulty for a small business man to be granted such a grand request, Harold received help from the Fifth District Representative in Washington, D.C. With that advantage, Pearson Printing managed to get its first printing press which is still in use today. Pearson Printing did not create and abundance of jobs during war time. They only employed about six people and still do not have a need for an abundance of workers because of their trained and diligent personnel. Just because Pearson Printing did not have many employees, it cannot be assumed that they had few customers. Aside from all of the major industries in the area, they relied on personal relationships and family friends already existing before the business began. Because of this wide customer base, little or no advertisement was used during both Harold and Skip’s ownership of the business. Skip Pearson explained, “ It was a good job. The customers came to us.” Now, Kevin sponsors games and uses radio advertisements, typical strategies of any business(Pearson).
From the beginning of Pearson Printing in 1939, to the conventional business it has become, it goes without saying that there have been more than just changes pertaining to ownership. As far as prices, Skip explained that most have simply progressed with the flow of the economy. “In 1948, five hundred business cards may have cost five dollars. Now they cost thirty five dollars.” In addition, almost every business that Pearson Printing began with in trade is no longer in existence. Of the string of businesses running from 30th street to 38th street in Marion, Skip declared that theirs is the only primary business left. While this may not be a shocking fact, the advances in technology have been undeniable. Purely with the use of computers and telephones, business has progressed in unforeseen ways. New electronic technology such as plates are replacing the letter press. This new equipment has transformed the business, all the way down to the finances, which used to be calculated using a cumbersome adding machine. Even within the last fifteen years there has been a eminent surge in the printing and demand for colored pictures. The printing industry has been modernized by technology to the point where new jobs, such as graphic designer, are a must have in the business. The printing trade has become something entirely new since the businesses start in 1941, everything is much quicker and easier. Although things are becoming obsolete in a flash, Skip reassures, “Kevin keeps up with everything”(Pearson).
Pearson Printing had all the right aspects that made it flourish and become what it has today. All of the family members take pride in the business and enjoy the independence the job allows. Because they make the decisions themselves, they rarely have to deal with interferences. The business has progressed smoothly through the rough times of the World War and struggling economy of Marion. Pearson Printing has changed a great deal due to the cycles of business, but also their desire to satisfy their customer in a way that holds true to the meaning of the original business. Skip Pearson held, “ Everything used to be simple and old fashioned, but it took a lot of hard work”(Pearson). That hard work shows through with the clear success of the family business today.