Bobby Firestein, owner of Sveconway Printing, today announced the merger of his firm with another local printer, Ecoprint, which had been owned and operated for more than 35 years by Roger Telschow. The new company will trade as Ecoprint and be based in Sveconway’s current space in Silver Spring, Maryland. No layoffs will result, according to a company spokesman.
Both organizations were well known in the printing industry for their sustainable business practices and environmental stewardship. In fact, Telschow once spent most of a year inventing the industry’s first heavy-metal-free, eco-friendly inks, which are still in use today.
“I am very excited to see Ecoprint evolve in this way. After collaborating with Bobby and our friends at Sveconway for more than a decade, we will consolidate operations. Our combined capabilities will provide a complete printing, design and distribution solution with the lowest possible environmental impact,” said Telschow, the newly-formed organization’s president.
“Roger Telschow has been a mentor of mine for the last 11 years; I am humbly honored that he would give me the opportunity to lead our combined organization,” said Firestein, who will serve as Ecoprint’s CEO.
The merger will better serve the companies’ customers, according to Firestein. “This is a textbook example of why business mergers make sense. Our clients will benefit from variable data, digital print, mailing and grand format all under one roof.”
“We have the equipment, software and expertise to offer customers the full gamut of services without investing another nickel in equipment. This will make the combined company much more competitive than either would have been on its own,” explained Telschow.
As a young man, Telschow, now 60, was, by most accounts, a passionate environmental activist. “I still am,” he admitted in a recent interview.
In 1977, shortly after graduating from Michigan State University, Telschow and a buddy were concerned enough about pollution that they bought a used bus for $800 in Rappahannock County, Virginia, took out the seats, bolted a used printing press to the floor and hit the road on a grassroots campaign to educate the masses and effect environmental conservation.
“We needed a printing press for flyers and brochures for our own propaganda,” recalled Telschow.
One year and thousands of miles later the bus returned to Washington, DC, where the duo found fertile ground for their message. Within a short time, they started taking in printing jobs for other local nonprofits and a fledgling business, Ecoprint, evolved.
“We picked up a surprising volume of commercial work that first year because our overhead was very low – literally – I mean the ceiling of the bus,” Telschow said with a grin.
Over the ensuing 35 years, Ecoprint grew to become a nationally-recognized innovator in the printing industry while continuing to serve customers who shared Telschow’s passion for conducting business in ways that lessened impacts on the environment and treated employees fairly.
“Our customers work with us because they see us with a countercultural slant; we don’t do things like other printers and yet we perform better because we focus on human aspects of the service,” he said.
While Telschow educated Firestein about sustainable printing and encouraged him to take steps to be more environmentally friendly, he recognized that Firestein’s ability to oversee business operations was probably keener than his own.
“Bobby is highly respected within our industry. Printing is a tough business. Here you have an industry that’s contracting at 4-5 percent per year, is very capital-intensive and requires complex technology software that changes annually. A lot of others have failed while he has succeeded. My hat’s off to him. His record of growth over the past decade is impressive,” said Telschow.
The way forward
“Printing will always be with us. It’s a wonderful way to communicate. It can explain things in ways that nothing else can,” said Telschow.
“Because nothing needs to be outsourced, we can control variables that our competitors are beholding to. Increased reliability and the peace of mind that comes with knowing jobs will be completed on time and within budget will be our signature differentiators,” said Firestein.
“Our expanded capabilities and staffing will help us to further our mission—to provide great value to our customers while pushing two top polluting industries, printing and paper, toward a more sustainable model,” said Telschow.