O clients, where art thou?

| Print |  Email
Archives - September 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
BookBindery_1
BookBindery_2
Brother Gerald Mathison (top) and the abbey’s bookbindery (bottom) are on a search for new customers.
PHOTO COURTESY OF TRAPPIST ABBEY BOOKBINDERY

Brother Gerald Mathison, the assistant manager of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey Bookbindery, thinks the Abbey bookbindery’s product has never been better.

Mathison proudly notes that many of the bookbindery’s customers — almost 30 college and university libraries in the Willamette Valley and San Francisco Bay Area — have regularly used the bookbindery for two or three decades. One of five industries generating income covering the Abbey’s operating costs and charitable giving, the bookbindery, he says, was the Abbey’s primary source of income.

But because of the recession and increasing digitalization of magazines, periodicals, and other print media, that’s no longer the case.

Five years ago, the Abbey’s bindery bound an average of 1,000 books each week. Mathison says the bindery now binds between 600 and 700 books a week and annually earns $250,000. “We’re holding our own, but the numbers are definitely down,” he says. And for the first time since its founding in 1955, the bookbindery is finding itself needing to develop new clients.

“We’re not anxious to put on a suit and go out and get new customers,” Mathison says, explaining that the monks live a cloistered life. “That’s a contradiction to our way of life. Nevertheless, we are in the business world.”

What might have been an uncomfortable marketing campaign was made easy by a suggestion made by a younger monk, to use the very thing causing the bookbindery to lose business — the Internet.

Six months ago, Mathison assigned two monks to use the Internet to seek out customers. Already specializing in thesis and dissertation binding, as well as binding for college and university libraries, the bookbindery is further specializing its niche by targeting smaller colleges.

“Sometimes a smaller school, when they have lighter numbers for binding, have difficulty getting a reasonable rate from large book binders,” Mathison says. He says a dozen schools have shown interest in doing business with the bookbindery.

If web searching does not make up for the loss in orders, the bookbindery may add on-demand printing in addition to binding services.

“There’s a huge amount of business out there for that,” Mathison says. “It’s one thing being considered.”

Mathison does not predict the bookbindery will close. He also thinks many clients will remain loyal. “The customers we have have been delighted in our product,” he says. “We put a lot of emphasis into customer service, and that’s been a big deal.”


AMANDA WALDROUPE
 

More Articles

Photos from the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon awards celebration

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
IMG 9975cneditPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Images from the 2015 celebration of Oregon's great workplaces.


Read more...

Emperor of the Sea

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

Pacific Seafood, one of the world’s largest processors, is rebranding as a more transparent and consumer-friendly operation. A controversial CEO and monopoly accusations from coastal fishermen complicate the tale.


Read more...

Celestial Eats

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER AND EILEEN GARVIN

A power lunch at Solstice Wood Fire Cafe & Bar.


Read more...

Make the Case: 10 stylish options for businesspeople

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015

10 briefcases that mean business.


Read more...

Beam Me Up

April 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
BY DAN COOK | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

An alliance of developers, academics and timber industry executives wants to position Oregon as a front runner in the glamorous new world of wooden skyscrapers.


Read more...

4 highlights of the MLS labor deal

The Latest
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
timbersthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

On Wednesday night, a couple days ahead of the 2015 season kickoff, Major League Soccer and the Players Union reached an agreement.


Read more...

Power Players

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY ROBERT MULLIN

A new energy-sharing agreement sparks concerns about independence and collaboration in the region's utility industry.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS