Archive for Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Business traces roots to Argentine district

December 20, 2006

What started as a small newspaper in the Argentine district of Kansas City, Kan., has blossomed into a printing and mailing business in Basehor.

About 20 years ago, Jon and Jamie Males bought what was then known as The Record, a newspaper that had been serving the Argentine area of Kansas City, Kan., since 1888. After serving the community for several years, the owners started a bulk mailing service along with the newspaper.

"Our customers encouraged us to start handling their mail because they didn't like dealing with the post office," Jon Males said.

Males said their first bulk mailing job was about 15,000 pieces that went nationwide -- an experience he described as a nightmare. Labeling each piece by hand and separating them into states took five days and when they took the mail to the post office, the clerk told them to redo them. Two days later, the mail finally went out.

"I swore at that point that I would never do a piece of mail again," he said. "We're still doing that same job, but today it takes an hour and a half instead of seven days."

The newspaper still exists -- as a community bulletin board that serves the Argentine and Turner areas of Kansas City, Kan. But the printing and mailing side of what is now known as the Recordnews has expanded. Males said the 1,900-square-foot building in Argentine was too small for the growing business. The newspaper remained in the original office and the printing and mailing side moved to 147th and Parallel in Basehor.

"My initial reaction was that it was a little bit of a distance for our clientele," Males said. "But, once I saw it, it was too good to pass up."

Males said they have almost quadrupled their workspace. The Recordnews has four full-time and eight part-time employees who specialize in design, printing and mailing. The same postal clerk who told Males he had redo his first bulk mailing job --Del Flackmiller -- now works as the mailroom manager for the Recordnews. Instead of holding a grudge, Males said, he knew that by hiring Flackmiller, the job would be done correctly.

"By hiring him it has increased our capability by a hundred fold," Males said. "He brought in an expertise to us that is unheard of."

Males' company handles printing and mailing of newsletters for various businesses throughout the metro area and mailing for print vendors. He said they also print and mail campaign fliers for state representatives.

"We just make sure it gets done, done right and done on time," he said. "All of our clients get exceptional service. In our 20 years of business, I don't think we've ever lost a customer."

Males said Basehor has been friendly and welcoming. They came to Basehor with a solid customer base, he said, so he does not intend to take customers away from local businesses. But, he said he would like to offer employment to local people as the business grows in the future.

"We're doing on average about 15 million pieces of mail a year," he said. "Starting from zero to 15 million is not bad, but we'll grow from there. Right now that is enough to keep us busy, by all means."

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