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Business Spotlight: Decades of Ink

Independent Printing receives the John Q. Hammons Founders Award from Missouri Sports Hall of Fame

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Independent Printing Inc. has a long history with the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, both in client and sponsor relationships.

It seems fitting, then, that the small Springfield print shop was honored Jan. 28 as the Hall of Fame’s annual recipient of the John Q. Hammons Founders Award.

Owners Jason and his father Wally Hemingway received a plaque and a roughly 12-inch bust of hotelier Hammons, who founded the Hall of Fame, for their 20 years working with the organization. Independent Printing joins past Founders Award recipients Advertising Plus Inc., Great Southern Bank and Hiland Dairy – all companies that have contributed to the nonprofit Hall of Fame and its annual Price Cutter Charity Championship.

“They print everything for us related to the Hall of Fame,” says Jerald Andrews, president and executive director of the sports organization. “They’re involved with virtually everything we do from a sponsorship perspective.”

As a corporate sponsor, Independent Printing pays for the right to put up tables at all of its events, and it also is guaranteed a team at golf tournaments organized by the Hall of Fame. A back-lit sign in the Hall of Fame’s lobby also recognizes Independent Printing.

Roughly 1,600 attendees at the Hall of Fame’s annual enshrinement ceremony Jan. 28 at University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center walked away with Independent Printing’s work. The company prints the official enshrinement magazine, complete with biographies, as well as a yearbook and calendar for the event. This year, they printed around 1,800 copies to cover the event.

“We’re not a large shop, but we do a lot of work,” Wally says.

At Independent Printing’s 8,000-square-foot shop, 2335 E. Chestnut Expressway, a crew of seven runs three printing presses and one digital press, as well as a binding machine and other large equipment. They print thousands of products annually for some 400 clients, generating $890,000 in 2017 revenue. The Hall of Fame, they say, is one of the largest, along with Dickerson Park Zoo, First Baptist Church and The Venues.

The owners say Independent Printing has built a niche in the nonprofit world – now, just over half of all its business – specifically when it comes to event materials.

Clients who work with Independent Printing lean on owners and employees who have made printing a lifelong venture.

Staff members wear multiple hats to get the jobs accomplished. A prime example is Jason, who in addition to serving as president, also performs maintenance on the machines. He even set up and installed one. Combined, the employees have 123 years of experience at Independent Printing.

As a result, the team is quite close-knit. General Manager Kathi Johnson has worked at the company for over 40 years, and Office Manager Sharon Payne has put in more than 30 years of work.

“They have a small staff, but all of their staff have the ability to run every piece of equipment in their shop,” the Hall of Fame’s Andrews says. “They do as nice a job printing as anyone in this area of Missouri does.”

The Hemingway era started in 1971, when Wally bought Independent Printing from Bob Henry, the shop’s founder in 1945.

It was a natural transition for Wally, who worked in high school as a typesetter for the weekly Jasper County News and then for Cain Printing in Springfield before joining Independent Printing.

“I always wanted a print shop of my own,” he says.

Jason came to work for his father as a kid and has been there through three address changes: first on Commercial Street and most recently across Chestnut Expressway from their current office. In 2005, Wally semiretired and passed the torch to Jason. Wally remains active in a vice president role.

“I’ve got ink in my blood,” Wally says. Jason adds, “That’s all I’ve ever done, so it’s pretty much in my blood, too.”

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