Two Abbotsford companies that have made indelible impressions on the community are blending their resources to begin a new chapter.
This week Abbotsford Printing, operated by Bob and Dorothy Dyck for 24 years, will merge with Globe Printers, owned by Ken Giesbrecht.
Dorothy will make the move, but Bob is leaving the trade to find new challenges.
Giesbrecht - who built Globe into the largest full service print shop in the Fraser Valley over 18 years - and the Dycks are a good match.
Although competitors, they've often helped each other out and along the way discovered they share many values, such as a strong emphasis on personalized client service and community involvement.
Among the Dycks' long list of volunteering efforts: Dorothy has been Chamber of Commerce president, and is a founder of the Crystal Gala Society; and Bob headed the board of the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre and the B.C. Summer Games
"The community is what supported our business, so it was important for us to support the community," said Bob.
Giesbrecht, too, champions several non-profits, and Globe is a significant sponsor of the Run for Water project.
"My dad instilled in me the idea of giving back to the community," he said.
The Dycks didn't expect to be in the print trade when they married 38 years ago.
While Bob and his brother tried to establish a hog farm, he worked "part-time" as a pressman at Abbotsford Duplicating for six years, as it was first called, "eight hours a day, five days a week," he joked.
Bob was production manager by the time print shop owners Al and Carey Furey surprised the Dycks with an offer to sell them the business.
"It was a very big compliment, he said, 'we'd never sell to anyone else,' " said Bob.
They accepted the challenge, and took over Nov. 1, 1988.
At the time, Dorothy was a stay-at home mom for their three kids and an avid papier tole aficionado, even teaching classes in the finicky hobby. She brought that talent, her eye for detail and her personal warmth, to the print shop.
Bob made the transition from co-worker to boss, exchanging his T-shirt and jeans for a shirt and tie, and they grew the business from six to a dozen employees and polished Abbotsford Printing's reputation for excellence in service and products.
Dorothy said she ignored conventional business advice and got personal with her clients, even meeting them in their homes to discuss projects.
"I'll do whatever it takes to meet their needs, whether it's as small as a business card or annual report. If we can't do it, I'll find someone who can," she said. "If I can help [my clients] be successful, then I know I've done a good job."
Because it wasn't in the competitive Vancouver business market, it took a while for Abbotsford Printing to be taken seriously as a first-rate print shop. But with the help of their dedicated employees, they overcame that bias, said Bob.
AP was the first shop in the region to have a full colour press, and over the years it has earned countless regional and international industry honours from the Craftsman Association Gallery of Superb Printing awards, including the best two-colour stationary package in all of North America one year.
"We probably have 100 of them," Dorothy said as she revealed stacks of awards, many of them gold, behind the cupboard doors in her small office.
Ken Giesbrecht was born into the business - he got his start as a 10-year-old, collating pages in his dad's Globe Printers shop in Saskatoon. When he moved to Abbotsford as a newlywed, he worked for local printers, then in 1994 opened a Globe branch here.
He had equipment, but no staff. "I'd lock the shop and go door to door to get customers," Giesbrecht recounted. He'd process, print and deliver the order and then go out to find another client.
It was a humble start, but he has a passion for business and had a goal of one day making his shop larger than his dad's.
Five years ago, Globe Printers became the largest printing service in the Fraser Valley with 23 employees, and will grow to 30 staff members with the merger.
It has state-of-the art digital equipment, and recently began offering wide format printing for banners and such. To accommodate the expanded workforce, Globe will add another shift at their Simpson Road location.
And yes, with the merger, Giesbrecht will surpass his dad's Saskatoon shop, now run by his uncle.
He's excited about the new vistas opening with Dorothy and the AP staff on board.
"It's exciting. In our position in Abbotsford there are lots of opportunities. Who knows what's next?"