Carl Schorr: Proud to Be a Printer (Pt. 3)

Adopted from “Wells Printing: About Us” (1986)

Wells Printing Press Room
Carl’s rapid climb up the company ladder resulted in his becoming plant superintendent while still in his 20’s. This is when the days of long hours really started for Carl. The advancement was not without some apprehension. Carl felt he had to prove himself all over, particularly to some of the older employees. And then, there was a renewed dedication to do the best job possible to justify the trust placed in him. Carl worked endlessly. Nights and weekends at the office became routine. Carl was now doing, at one time or another, every job in the place. Whatever needed to be done was done, and if that meant cutting paper, running a press, or the bindery machine, or the folder, Carl would tackle it. His learning days were long gone.

In 1966 Carl entered a new phase of his life. He joined with Richard Massey in purchasing the company from Rufus Wells, who decided to retire. Katherine proved to be right on target, Carl now owned the place

These were years of great optimism. Carl and Dick had big plans for Wells Printing and those plans generally centered around expansion. Expansion of services, equipment, staff, and it was hoped, maybe even a newer, bigger building in the not-too-distant future. They would produce the company’s first really big job: the printing of a book about Bill Evjue, the “Fighting Editor” of The Capital Times. Here were two young men, just in their early 40’s, who owned their own business. The future seemed limitless in what it had to offer. if they would work hard enough, they’d make Wells Printing Company the best in the state. That was the plan anyway.

Wells Printing meeting with William Evjue
But the company started to go downhill. There were a lot of reasons. There are always a lot of reasons and blame to pass around. In the end, however, the primary reason would be a fluctuating economy. Not a Depression, just the little ups and downs, the mini-recessions that would contribute to uncertainty in volume of business. Some customers went away. When a business closed or moved out of town, particularly when it had been a long-time customer, the impact could be devastating for a printer. Looking back there were probably some adjustments that should have been made, probably some plans that should have been put on hold, probably some employees that could have been laid off. That didn’t happen though.

What did happen is that Dick left for personal reasons. Members of the board of directors considered declaring bankruptcy, and, soon after, Carl was involved in a serious auto accident that put not only his career, but also his life in jeopardy…

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