The Freeport Press was established as a weekly newspaper in 1880 by J.J. Ashenhurst. He was a resident of Martins Ferry and when he decided to start a newspaper he chose Freeport without ever seeing the town. It was chosen because of the geographical location and was located at the corner of S. High St. and Ohio St. Freeport Press has been in continuous operation ever since, now in two locations; Freeport, OH, and the new location in New Philadelphia, OH (30 minutes north of the original facility).
In 1883 it was purchased by L.B. Williams of Freeport, beginning an association with the Williams family that would last for four generations. With the retirement of L.B. Williams in 1917, his son, Homer C. Williams, became editor and publisher. In 1925 Dean Williams purchased a half interest in the paper from his father and the Press operated under this partnership until 1944 when Dean Williams became sole owner. During this time the business was located on Muskingum St.
In 1949 a new building was constructed on Main Street. The original structure has been added to on both sides but the front, which featured stone from the Freeport Stone Quarry, remains the same.
Maynard and Anne Williams Buck purchased the Freeport Press in 1957. This was the fourth generation of the Williams family to be involved with the Freeport Press. At the time of the purchase, there were only four people employed and the main business of the Press was to publish the weekly newspaper, “The Freeport Press”. Then they began to develop a commercial printing business, which continued to grow. The Freeport Press and the Scio Weekly Herald merged in 1964 and the newspaper then became the Press Herald until 1968 when the Cadiz Republican joined the Press Herald to become the Harrison News-Herald. The business office was and still is at Cadiz but the paper is still printed at the Freeport Press.
In 1987 Maynard and Anne Buck sold the company to one of their customers, Suburban Graphics, to ensure that the company would grow and provide job security for its employees well into the 21st Century. At that time James W. Carson, who had come to the press as vice president and general manager in 1980, became the holder of a minority interest in the company.
In December 1989, Jim Carson purchased the Freeport Press from a group of investment partners and later became a business partner of Mr. John Schrock. In 1998, Mr. Jim Carson reached an agreement to sell his shares to a new partnership between Mr. John Schrock and Mr. David G. Pilcher. In January of 2005, Mr. David G. Pilcher became the sole owner of the Freeport Press.
Freeport Press has grown to over two hundred employees and fifty million in sales (post-covid). Dave Pilcher Sr., Owner and CEO recalls: “When I started with Freeport Press, we had a large concentration of our sales with one account. We were the original printing facility for the Harmon Homes Real Estate Magazines with over forty percent of our sales volume with their publications, and most of the other jobs were cold-set printing on newsprint with a ‘pleasing’ glossy cover. Early on, we sold those cold-set presses and have prospered entirely in the commercial heat-set marketplace.”
That year was remembered as a turning point in the company when Dave Sr. purchased the press and took it in a new direction, “Our early focus was saddle-stitched products and building efficient systems. We set out and achieved a completely digital workflow to support all data collection, including the process of planning, estimating, scheduling, purchasing, order entry and prepress workflows. It set off a chain reaction of capital equipment and software acquisitions.”
In addition to those moves, Freeport Press added space with three building expansions and, five years ago, an additional location in New Philadelphia, Ohio tripling our floor space. In 2021 we are expanding again, with a 50,000 sq ft building addition to begin in August. This is to accommodate our new 12-pocket Kolbus perfect binder to compliment our 18-pocket Kolbus.
“The workflow improvements and equipment investments we’ve made have all been customer-driven. The way to be truly successful is through a direct and consistent partnership with customers – not only at the sales and purchasing level but by allowing and encouraging direct access to the top. To some, it may seem like just a job, but to our customers, it’s their livelihood. Nothing is more important.”
We attribute our success to strong leadership and vision among our management team, extremely dedicated employees, and a customer base growing with new technology and methods; plus many new customers looking for the combination of quality, performance, reliability, and price. In addition, our suppliers have stood shoulder to shoulder with us showing increasing confidence as our business plan continues to unfold. We have also enjoyed solid bank support, coupled with local, county, state, and national governmental agency support, which have all worked together to provide us with tax abatements on our expansion projects, lower interest loans, training grants to develop our employees and collateral backing necessary to improve our overall financial position.
Contact us today. Let our team will get acquainted with you and your needs. Find out how you can get more with Freeport Press!