Pioneer Press celebrates 120 years of printing in Edmonton
Owner hopes printing company will remain in business for another century
Alberta hadn’t even been made a province yet in 1894 when Pioneer Press first opened its doors in what was then the town of Edmonton.
The company celebrated its 120th anniversary on Thursday.
The press at Pioneer was originally used to print the old Plain Dealer newspaper. Today, most of its business is in commercial printing – creating business cards, posters and professional brochures.
Owner Jim Edgar, 80, started working for the company in 1950. In 1963, he and a partner bought the company – and he’s been there ever since.
“Things get in your blood," he said. "I wanted to do it as a boy and I eventually got a job in the printing industry so I've been doing it forever.”
And Edgar says the people at Pioneer Press are a big part of what’s kept it going all these years, noting that he is not the only multi-decade veteran with the company.
Bob Grimstead, a 32-year veteran of the company, said the secret to staying in business all this time is even simpler.
“Take care of your customers – it’s got to be the secret to any business. I think that’s just the bottom line. Take care of your customers and the rest will take care of itself.”
The company has survived several huge periods of change across its 120-year history, including a reinvention of the printing press in the 1970s and a push to digital starting in the 1990s.
But while technology has changed radically, one century-old printing press is still used daily – although Edgar admits it’s not quite as fast as some of the newer machines.
As for Edgar, he says he hopes Pioneer will still be operating in Edmonton in another hundred years.
“You hear about paperless society, but I personally think there'll always be a need for printed product. It’s just the method of producing it is changing very rapidly.”