From a one color duplicator-press to a full-scale operation with the capacity to print color brochures and booklets by the truckload, Derby City Litho is a business that rolls its presses along with the times. In 1975, Joe Nash let his father talk him into opening a little shop on Bardstown Road in Louisville, Kentucky. Back then, they did small jobs: letterheads and stationery. But Joe learned from his father that if you work for your customers and exceed their expectations, they will return, and that their satisfaction is the best foundation a business can have.
The devotion is mutual. Director of the girls Louisville Invitational Tournament, Joyce Seymour, took time to talk to Insider Louisville in the thick of what she calls “the circus” of planning the 44th annual LIT, set to begin at the end of the month. Her partnership with Derby City Litho began in 1980. Prior to that, programs and brackets for the high school basketball tournament were run off on schools’ mimeograph machines. Since that time, the printed program has become an institution, gained sponsorship, and its sale has become a source of revenue for the games.
As Seymour relates, at the end of the ‘70s, the idea of gaining sponsorship and producing a real program came up, “ And so someone had told me to connect up with Joe Nash. And so… before I knew it, we were off and running with a great looking program. I tell you what. You heard of someone saying it was a marriage in heaven? And it was… I started with them printing the program in 1980 and I’ve been with ‘em ever since.”
The Louisville Invitational Tournament now has a program people buy as a keepsake with full-color photos of the teams, ads, rosters, and a record of all the past winners. Seymour works hand-in-hand with Derby City Litho’s graphics department who design the cover and revise ads from year to year.
“They are fabulous. They can take an idea and just go with it. I always go in every year and sit down with the graphics people and say, ‘This is an idea I have about what the front cover might look like,’ and they just take off with it and before I know it, they come by and say, ‘What do you think of this or that?’ It’s brilliant! It’s what I like to call a working team with Derby City Litho.”
In the interest of fiscal responsibility, Seymour does a regular pricing comparison, but says, “ No one — no one — can beat the service and the pricing I get from Derby City. I haven’t had anybody that’s even comparable. I’m using money that I want to go back to the schools that participate. So I want to have not only a good looking program that will sell, but also advertise our vendors who take ads out.”
Derby City Litho is there over the long run, but they’re there for you in a pinch, too. Everyone wants business to go smoothly, but sometimes, a customer forgets a necessary detail, remembering only at the very last minute.
Derby City Litho knows that the smallest details are a huge deal for you, so those details are a huge deal for their team as well. Lead Customer Service Representative (CSR) Jeanette Eads, who’s been with the company for nearly 30 years says, “The CSRs are the ones that usually get that desperate call from a customer that something is changing, an error has to be fixed, or “I need 100 more today.” Then Derby City Litho goes into action, putting on their superhero persona to save the day.”
Production manager Eric Beaulieu, who’s been with the company for 29 years recalls just such an occasion when a customer needed changes to a booklet for an event — a booklet that had already been printed and stitched.
He says, “When everyone in the plant heard what was needed, there were no questions asked. We all came together as a family, taking books apart, printing and folding a new form, inserting and stitching the form into the booklet. We all stayed late. We fixed the booklet and got it the customer before the event began. Things like this don’t happen very often, but when they do, it’s nice to know you have family to back you.”
These days, Joe’s sister Mary Ann Osting is the GM at the company, keeping it in the family and carrying their motto into the 21st century. It’s something their father, Harry M. Nash, said many years ago and is engraved on a plaque in their sister business, Duplicator Sales and Service’s front office: I don’t pay anybody. Our customers pay all of us. So we work very hard at customer satisfaction.