In 1977, what would become Johnson Printing was opened as a PIP “instant printing” shop by Bill and Jan Moore, at 803 Manatee Avenue West in downtown Bradenton.
In 1980, a young and enterprising John Johnson was hired to run their second AB Dick 360 offset press.
John took to the job well. Customers actually enjoyed watching him run the press, producing “printing while you wait.” He also ran the simple Itek camera, that made paper-backed printing plates, the small hand-clamp cutter and a tabletop folder – all pretty high-tech stuff then.
There was one IBM black and white copier in the front lobby using roll-fed paper which did an amazing, at that time, 18 copies per minute.
The young company offered no in-house graphics or typesetting services. Computerized typesetting was only beginning to make inroads and this was still a specialized field. So all copy preparation was “jobbed-out” to a graphics house in Palmetto that did the typesetting and paste-up composition for local printers from Venice to south Tampa.
By 1987, John had learned all about printing, copying, paper and ink. He was also apprenticing as a manager, learning about business methods and customer relations. That same year he bought the business.
The next year, he took over the space next door, formerly a doctors office, doubling the size of the print shop. He remodeled, still in line with PIP’s prescribed image, but personally focused on a friendly staff that welcomed customers to a sparkling clean professional environment.
John was a strong believer in the future of quick printing and on-demand graphic arts. He soon bought his first desktop publishing equipment – a Macintosh II Ci computer with a black and white monitor, and a then-whopping 4 megabytes of ram and 80-megabyte hard drive – top of the line for its day. Also purchased was a black and white laser printer and Pagemaker 4.0, the leading typesetting and page layout program.
He put out the call for skilled desktop operators and hired Mark Handel, who has headed the graphics and pre-press department ever since – for over 22 years!
John continued improving both equipment and personnel. Making sure his customers receive the very best service has always been paramount to the company’s success.
By the mid 1990s, John felt the stigma of “quick print” was no longer beneficial to the success of his company. He wanted to produce more quality-oriented products. He started investigating full color copying and multicolor offset printing.
In 1997 John bought out the franchise agreement and a bold “Johnson Printing” went up over the door. Released from the demands of the franchiser, Johnson Printing now aimed to grow in areas John believed to be integral to the success of his company.
John installed his first Heidelberg GTO multi-color press and a more sophisticated plate-making system in 1994. Knowing any machine is really only as good as its operator, John searched out April Pyle, who still heads up the Johnson Printing press department today.
As developments became available, John has continued to expand capability and services. Johnson Printing still offers “instant” printing and copying, but as an independent business has overcome the limitations of the print-by-numbers “quick printer.”
Over the next few years, the original AB Dicks were replaced by Heidelberg two color presses. Larger and faster, computer-controlled copiers were put in place, with qualified personnel to operate them.
The graphics department has become a state-of-the-art entity on its own, and can now offer “from scratch” design services – simply tell us what you want.
Johnson Printing has developed strong relationships with Adobe Incorporated, Heidelberg and many other leading companies in the graphics and printing trades. This allows us to be among the first to know when improved software, equipment and knowledge become available, and quick to offer even better service to our customers.
In 2007, after 30 years, the company had totally outgrown its original location. John bought and renovated a building at 1104 9th Street West. Johnson Printing officially moved in to their new home that July.
In 2012 Johnson Printing added promotional products to afford even more service and satisfaction to our clients.
In brief, Johnson Printing has successfully transitioned to a high quality, short run, multicolor printing plant offering top-of-the-line printed products of every kind – brochures, reports, stationery, business cards and much, much more. Our top 4 managers have over 140 years combined experience in the printing industry.
In its “new” handy location, with more space, better parking, more power and superb technicians and equipment, Johnson Printing looks forward to the next 35 years.
All the while, John Johnson’s original ideals have been maintained: Offer quality product in quick fashion, maintain the very best equipment and personnel, and always remember – “the customer comes first!”