By ALISSA SCOTT
Recorder News Staff
TOWN OF AMSTERDAM--A company that started with a dollar and a dream in the New York City apartment of Abraham Singer, now employs more than 500 people and is celebrating its 115th anniversary this week.
Amsterdam Printing & Litho Co., which specializes in promotional products, has been at its town of Amsterdam location for just over half a century. Officials weren't able to dig up the exact day in 1898 that Singer opened his one-man print shop, so they chose this week, beginning with a proclamation from U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam) in the front lawn of the facility Monday.
"What we're celebrating here today is 115 years of innovation, one of those principles that are guiding you," Tonko said. "And, customer satisfaction."
President Tim Broadhead said without the dedication of their employees, who genuinely love working with the company, they wouldn't have made it this far.
"Our organization wouldn't be where it is today without our employees being committed to providing our small business customers with the great products we provide," Broadhead said.
"Technology is a great thing, equipment and the capital is all great, but what really makes us great as an organization is our employees and allowing them to succeed."
Broadhead said Amsterdam Printing & Litho. Co. is best known for its wide variety of personalized pens, and are constantly copied by competitors just months after new styles are released. To be sure a pen was created in Amsterdam, Broadhead said it will always have a windmill logo on top.
"If you go to small businesses and ask them about Amsterdam Printing, what will they say?" Broadhead posed. "They'll say, 'Oh that's the company that sends me sample pens with my name on it.' That's how we're known."
Of the 9,000 products the company has available for customers, calendars and drinkware are also popular. They also produce apparel embroidery and keychain personalization.
Workers have constant reminders digitally flashed throughout the plant noting where the day's sales fall at that moment. Around 11 a.m., the company had sold nearly $90,000 worth of products, with a daily goal of $400,000 that they hoped to surpass by 3 p.m.
"I'm sure that really serves as motivation for the crew," Tonko said.
Some department heads, as well as community members and Amsterdam Town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza were present as Tonko presented Broadhead with a certificate from the House of Representatives , followed by a tree planting ceremony and balloon release thereafter.
Broadhead said the tree, a red maple, represents strength and endurance, symbolic of the company and also a nod to a call center the company owns in Canada. Select members of the audience involved with the celebration and the earlier years of the company planning took turns scooping in shovels of dirt.
Following the ceremony, Broadhead toured Tonko and DiMezza through the facility and met employees. Broadhead said though they hire temporary workers in busier seasons, their employee turnover rate is very low, and they are especially able to retain employees in the manufacturing department.
As national unemployment rates went up, the printing industry experienced a 20 percent decline in employees. Broadhead said he expects employment to steadily increase by 3 to 4 percent a year as they move forward.
"We want to continue to have good solid growth as an organization," Broadhead said. "We want to get into some product categories that basically we haven't been as strong in in the past, such as probably looking more at apparel and certain types of calendars, and maybe even deeper into drinkware.
"Truly for us, it's not the products that are important, but truly the market, as we sell to small businesses. That will continue to be our focus and we want to figure out how to sell even better to the small business marketplace."
For the remainder of the week, employees can enjoy Polar Freeze ice cream, participate in a Crazy Hat contest and grab a meal on the house for Free Lunch Friday.
"Great," Broadhead said, closing out the day's festivities, "now let's go take care of our customers."