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Master of Reprographics: Peter Morin
Peter Morin worked in the reprographics business for 40 years, from the ‘60s to the early 2000s. He owned Rhode Island Blue Print for most of that time.
Here are excerpts of an interview with Peter conducted by Joel Salus. The numbers beside each question represent the number of the question in the original interview. To read the complete original interview, click here.
1. When did you first get involved in the reprographics business, and what was the first position you held? How many different reprographics firms did you work for during your career in the reprographics industry?
Got my first taste of reprographics while I was taking a break from school and went to work for a steel company and worked in their repro department. From there went to a large construction company as their one man repro operation. When they were acquired by one of the major oil companies because of their drilling technology I opened my own shop with them as my first customer. Three years later, now married and not wanting to work six or seven days a week, I went to work for what was then the largest repro firm in the area in a sales position. Six years later I decided to go back into business and, along with a partner, started Rhode Island Blueprint.
15. Given your long experience in business, how did you, back when you were still in business, rank the importance of these issues, from the eyes of customers you did business with?
I built the business on service and quality. We were always the highest price in our market but survived because our service was better than our competitors. That’s not to say we didn’t lose some business because of price – we did. But I think you have to commit to a strategy and stick with it. It was more important to me to be the best, not necessarily the largest.
27. Did you expand your company’s reach geographically, and, if so, were your geographic expansion efforts successful? If not, why not?
In the eighties we were doing a large amount of business with companies doing sub contract work for the Navy about thirty miles from our location. I seriously considered a second location but l decided that the compact size of our market justified increasing pickup and delivery service instead. A year after we made that decision the Navy worked dried up and most of our customers in that area closed and moved south or went out of business. So in this case we were successful in not expanding.
31. Would you share with us two or three of the most significant “good decisions” you made during your career?
Some that come to mind that helped both our growth and our profit are being the first in our market to close our photo lab and move into xerography, going to per sheet pricing to lessen the emphasis on square foot pricing, and being the first in the market to go into CAD plotting. Another decision that turned out to be good was when the governor of the State abruptly closed all the credit unions in the State without notice. We had some customers that had all of their personal and business funds with those institutions with no way to gain access to them. I made the decision to carry the ones that chose to stay in business. It was six months before the situation was resolved, but we gained loyalty from those clients that exist to this day.
32. Would you also share with us two or three of the most significant “bad decisions” you made during your career?
The only bad one I can think of at the moment was to terminate some clients too quickly in the early days over credit issues. That did cost us some business and made it almost impossible to get their business back when they became successful. It’s a fine line we (all reprographers) walk every day.
Want to read more? Click here to read the whole interview.