50+9 Using equipment that is older than I am and like me… still useful

The cutter I used today at Herman's Print Shop

Today I needed to trim down some photo paper that I sell on eBay. So I went over to my friend Herman’s Print Shop that he owns in Orono.

Herman has been a collector of Old Tyme Printing equipment and though he does have some new equipment like his Digital printer and computers for artwork he also has a lot of old machinery that he uses everyday, like his Multilith Printing Press, Heidelberg Letterpress machine and his Brown Carver Paper cutter that dates back to the late 1800’s and is still used today.

BBQ and writing are hobbies of mine and I enjoy both a lot, however I still have to work for a living. Let me give you a little bit of my work history.

After I left school my first full time job was building Teak furniture for a factory in Downsview, Ontario circa 1977, which was a job that my father was able to get me from the company that manufactured the Teak furniture that is still in my parents home today (at a later point I will take a picture or two and add them here later)

But there was a problem….

I really enjoyed woodworking as a hobby ever since that near fatal day I was cutting a 2×4 with a hacksaw when I was 8 years old in my dad’s garage with his dump truck running, which made me pass out from carbon-dioxide but I hated doing it because I had to in a factory that was the same thing over and over and over again, so I quit after only a few months.

Then I went into the Graphic Arts Trade

1300 Bloor St. E. Mississauga being built in 1975

Having moved from Milton to Mississauga in 1975  and still going to school in what was a new area that I did not now, I would explore a lot, down behind the apartment building we were living in while the Condominium my parents bought was being built, there was a small plaza called Applewood Plaza and in the back corner was Marconi Pizza and beside that was a very small Printing shop called Applewood Printers.

Some days after school (at age 15) I would go to Marconi’s for a slice of Pizza and then talk to the owner of the Print Shop (it was a one man shop) I do not remember his name now but he showed me how his Printing machines worked and I was fascinated by the equipment.

My Spitfire Base CB Radio with Chrome Lolly-pop Mike aka Red Cardinal Base

Another hobby I had at that time was CB Radio which my father gave me since I knew nobody in the area, his thinking was I would meet some people that way (and he was right, I even met my wife on the CB radio but that was a few years later, a story for another day)

The owner of Applewood Printers and his store front

A fad back in the mid 70’s was for CB’ers to have calling cards that were called QSL cards which were really for Short-wave Radio hobbyists but CB’ers also had them. I  designed myself a QSL card my handle on the CB was the “Little Wizard” on the Red Cardinal Base so I needed to have it printed, So I went into see my friend at Applewood Printers, he said that I could have the cards printed for free if I did the work, and he would help me by explaining how to do it.

I was hooked!

The Graphic Arts Trade is what I wanted to do for my career, so after I left the furniture making behind I went to work for Deco Adhesives in 1977 as a pressman on their 3rd largest Label making Printing Press at the minimum $3.00 per hour rate, but I must have been well liked as every year for three years I got myself a raise! so I left Deco in 1980 while making $3.75 per hour.

I also worked as a Pizza Delivery person for the for mentioned Marconi’s Pizza (and later also for Giovannis Pizza) nights and week-ends while working for Deco since I needed to pay for my 1976 VW Rabbit which I bought after getting my license.

The reason I left Deco was that my father could see that I was very serious about the Printing trade and he had seen that there was a Printing business for sale in Markham, Ontario about an hours drive North East of my home in Mississauga so we bought it (Equipment only and the rental unit, no customers) and thus Acute Print was born and I was businessman at the age of 20.

Five years I ran the business but had to give it up as I was to busy to run the business by myself and not making enough money to hire help.

And having  just got married and having a baby, I needed a steady pay cheque.

in 1993 I was the manager of the markham Paper Shoppe (that is me in the sweater)

I joined the Paper Shoppe right at that point and I was then selling Paper and Graphic Arts supplies to Printers like the one that I was just trying to run. I worked my way up over the next 14 years through that company including Starting and running a store location from scratch in Rexdale and being the manger of stores in Markham and Scarborough to eventually be the Ontario Sales Manager in charge of staff at 10 stores and 25 employees across Ontario.

I had also started for the head office Unisource a new division from scratch called Paper On Wheels in which I sold paper from a cube van which was basically a store on wheels.

But then in their wisdom Unisource decided to close down the division because at that time a new big box store had opened up and was taking away a lot of our core business, you may of heard of them Business Depot (now known as Staples) and Unisourse was supplying Business Depot with product and the Paper Shoppes were conflicting with that business.

Working for Acuity as their Bindery Manager in 2000

So I took a package and went back into Printing working for Acuity as their Bindery Manager for a couple of years and after a couple of other jobs working in sales and Bindery for other commercial Print Shops I decided that was enough of working for others and opened my own business Oshawa Laser Supply which I have been doing ever since.

Oshawa Laser supplies Paper to Commercial Printers and I also sell Photo Paper, and do sales and service of Computers, Laser Printers and Artwork design and Printing.

For the Printing I use my friend Herman to print the jobs for me.

I started Oshawa Laser Supply as a part time business in 1999 but a few years later made it my full time business.

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