UNIVERSITY AREA – As much as digital information has become a part of daily living, the need for printed material persists.
Websites with animated graphics, videos and links to a universe of information are important ways for businesses to promote themselves, but printed cards, flyers, posters and promotional items remain as straightforward, simple ways to get the word out about goods and services.
D.T. Publisher at 2776 University Square Drive in Tampa prints on just about anything from golf balls to 16-foot by 100-foot banners. Their catalogue also features a wide variety of plaques, trophies, hats and other promotional items that make the business far more than just a copy center.
It was the dawn of the desktop publishing age when Harry and Maureen Schuster started the business at a Busch Boulevard location in 1986 after moving to Tampa from Boston.
Personal computing was just beginning and designers and others who needed to use computers – but didn’t have their own – worked out of businesses providing access to them as well as high-quality printers.
“We weren’t in the printing business then,” said Harry Schuster, 50. “We were in the computer time rental business. It was the beginning of bringing computers to people.”
The Schusters added more printing options as well as copying, graphic design and other services as technology and the needs of their customers evolved.
D.T. Publisher has produced work for large corporations such as Citigroup, Verizon and Publix as well as the Tampa Bay area’s professional sports teams and many government organizations and public institutions, but a lot of their business is conducted with individual customers with their own special needs.
One way the economy has affected their business is that a lot of people who lost jobs are becoming entrepreneurs. One of the first things on their to-do lists is acquiring promotional material like business cards, flyers, postcards or branded shirts sporting the company logo.
According to Schuster, working with people who are just beginning a new enterprise sometimes requires a little more work to ensure good results, especially when customers bring in their own designs.
“They’ll show me a card and there will be two or three typos on it, or come in with a design they want to use that doesn’t have the name of the business or a way to contact them, like a phone number. We take the time to make sure all the information is there and it looks good,” he said.
Schuster says that kind of individual service, backed by experience and a willingness to take on any job, is what sets his business apart from national chains and online printers and keeps customers coming back, even if it means making a trip to Tampa from out of state.
“We had a customer who moved to Atlanta, and flew down here because for whatever reason in a big city like that couldn’t find someone to do her job. She walked in the door and asked if there was any way it could be done today because she didn’t want to stay over and we did the whole job between 11 and 6.”
Maureen Schuster says that experience illustrates how they fulfill their business model of striving for happy customers. A lot of times it’s a matter of lifting a printing or graphic design burden from someone’s shoulders.
“Go to D.T. Publisher and make it someone else’s problem,” she said.