Evolving Business

Metzger brothers always looking to evolve business.

(The following is a story published in the Toledo Free Press)

TOLEDO, OH - November 13, 2011 - Joe Metzger knows the importance of changing with the times as much as anyone.

Metzgers Printing + Mailing, the Toledo business he runs with his brother Tom, got its start in 1976 as a typesetting business — a viable field in the 1970s, but considerably less so in 2011.

The company originated as Type House, founded by Tom and Joe's father, Norb Metzhger. Since then, it has evolved, adding pre-press, offset printing, digital printing, mailing, data management, warehouse and fulfillment and cross media (on-line / offline) capabilities.

Today, Metzgers is one of the top 400 commercial printing companies in the United States, serving corporations, educational institutions, health care organizations and advertising agencies across the Midwest.

Joe Metzger, president of the company, credits an ability to adapt technologically as a key reason for the company's longevity and success. As the company's website asks: "What do YOU want to get done today?"

"I'd say a genuine curiosity and the innovation that we've done to really pay attention to what is going on in our industry, and then reacting to them," Metzger said of how the company has been able to stay relevant. "My brother and I are constantly wondering what's next, never sitting still and always being curious."

Joe and Tom took over daily operation of Metzgers when Norb retired in 1994. In the 17 years since, the company has grown from 15 employees to a staff of 85 full-time and 35 part-time workers. The company typically has almost 400 active customers at a time and completes about 1,200 projects a month. Last year, it had rooftop solar panels installed, which account for 13 percent of the company's power usage. The company recently received a Business Excellence Award from the Entrepreneurial & Business Excellence Hall of Fame, which Metzger said is an honor, but it also makes him a little uneasy.

"It makes us nervous," he said. "It's kind of like that old jinx of the guys who get ther faces on the front of Sports Illustrated. This award's been going around for decades, and if you look at the list of winners, there'rs a lot of people on that list that are no loger in business. We can't look at that award and think it's going to pay the bills next year — it's not. That's the thing about business; everything's changing so fast."

Metzger said the nomination and selection process was quite rigorous.

"It's not easy. I was surprised at how difficult the process is," he said. "It is an honor; it's exciting; obviously we're going to be in the limelight for a couple of hours. On the same note, the next day, we've still got to get in here and be sure we work hard and continue to do what we've always done."

The company is expanding into promotional products and large-format items, such as signage and banners. For more information, visit www.metzgers.com.

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