Taking a chance

Jans buys Western Print Group in Marshall

Photos by Jody Isaackson Western Print Group Owner/President Jeremiah Jans posed with his employees that he calls “amazing.” Jans comes from a banking background so he relies on his staff to carry out the physical work of printing. Pictured are: Jeremy Struthers, Julie Sorbel, David Hock, Kevin Sletten, Jeremiah Jans, Doug Krogen, Ashley Bloom, Barry Walther, Nathan Thooft, Krisann Huso, Nona Verschelde, Danielle Ryer, Dorothy Krogen, Bonnie Kruse, Matt Bemer, Mark Goertz, Max Millbradt, Ann Mack and Kevin Sievrhus.

ARSHALL — After a couple of years praying about it, Jeremiah Jans bought Western Print Group in Marshall from his friend, Brian Pfeiffer.

Pfeiffer is retiring after having bought the business known as Gesme’s Printing in 1990 and moved it to 305 West College Drive, renaming it Western Printing, Jans said.

In fact, it was Pfeiffer’s idea to bring in Jans as a minor partner in 2014 to begin the transition process.

“Brian and I had become friends outside of work,” Jans said. “He approached me about being a part of a succession plan. I thought that was kind of interesting and decided to take a chance on it. I bought a small percentage of the company in 2014 and came to work here to learn about it.”

In 2015, they decided to change the name of the business to Western Print Group to better reflect the enlarged services and products the business was now offering, Jans said.

Western Print Group does commercial printing, digital printing, signage, embroidery, screen printing and custom printing on promotional items. It will also bind books with a saddle stitch, Jans said, and wide format signage as well as banners.

“We want to expand the wide format printing and signage,” he said. “We’ll add a new wide format press.”

Also new this year, Western Print Group plans to take its business online.

“An online presence will allow us to offer simple printing jobs like business cards, locally and on a larger scale,” Jans said.

Jans took over as owner of Western Print Group Jan. 1 and works as president of the company using managing skills that complement his well-trained and experienced staff, he said.

“I take a great deal of pride in providing jobs to the community,” Jans said. “It’s really important that my employees enjoy their jobs. The Marshall community is great to small business, and the small businesses work together to support each other.”

“We retained all of our employees,” he said. “The staff is here is really amazing. They make life here a lot easier for me. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the staff here.”

Jans said he would probably never push a button on the printing machine, but he has leadership skills that complement his employees’ work skills.

A good manager knows his staff’s skills and where to place the right employee with the right job, he said.

Knowing this gave him and his wife, Amber, the confidence for him to leave a secure job in banking to move into the uncharted waters of owning his own business. He wanted to build a legacy for their three sons, Oakley, 9, Callahan, 7, and Paxton, 2.

“It’s nerve-wracking to go from a secure job to betting on yourself,” Jans said, “but I wanted to do something larger, bigger for them.”

After three and a half years praying over and planning the transition with his pastor at Grace Life Church, Jans took the final step to become the next owner of Western Print Group.