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Growing Businesses: South Central Printing And Hi-temp Graphics Both Expand Pla

This article first appeared in issue 33, and was written by Linda Waggener. The full title appeared as: GROWING BUSINESSES: South Central Printing and Hi-Temp Graphics both expand plants, Reliford Drilling Helps county Economy.

Columbia is home to a large printing industry employing over a hundred men and women, and two of these facilities have undergone impressive recent expansions.

One used alternative space and added on, the other moved into new quarters in the industrial park.

One was founded by a native Columbian, and one was recruited by a native Adair Countian.

Both now have some growing room. We'll visit both companies, starting with the first to expand into a new location:

South Central Printing

has expanded into newly remodeled front offices at their Wain Street plant. Columbia's largest general commercial printer delivers to customers within a hundred mile radius and ships internationally. They recently completed production of a book in Spanish. Founder Ralph Waggener says he's proud to be utilizing more of the space which came with his purchase of the former Trinity United Methodist Church when the church went to a new location on Campbellsville Street.

SCP started 22 years ago in 1800 square feet at the corner of Jamestown and Tutt Streets in Columbia and expanded at that location to about 7600 square feet including the building next door.

With those two buildings outgrown, he looked to alternative available space and found it with the church. SCP now enjoys 18,500 square feet of space on three acres. It offers room for new equipment like the wide format ink jet he has added which is capable of printing banners and extra large color photos.

The team making things happen at SCP includes:

Ralph and Glinda Waggener, William and Lee Grider, Jennifer Bray, Jenny Cundiff, Doug and Andrea Waggener, Dan Feese, Valerie Thomas, Angel VanVlymen, Kelly Grider, Brinkley Russell, Kenny Tarter, Jimmy McGowan, John Hancock, Dallas Cofer, Betty Sue Hancock and Dean Froedge.

Hi-Temp Graphics, Inc. expands to new, larger location

Traveling through the small town of Columbia one might not guess that better than two million business cards are being printed and shipped from a plant in our industrial park every week. The new year is brighter for the management and employees who make that happen as they settle into a spacious new building.

Hi-Temp Graphics, Inc. president John Rarey looks back to when his friend, local entrepreneur Jimmy Reliford, insisted that Columbia should be the location for Rarey's next business move. At that time Glasgow was offering him many incentives, up to and including financial incentives, if he'd move to their city. Rarey says that his friend worked tirelessly to help secure the location on Greensburg Street that became his first home here - 1,625 square feet - in 1991.

Hi-Temp Graphics grew and expanded to 4,000 square feet in 1992, and 6,500 in 1995. After continued growth it became apparent that there was a need for a new building.

Hi-Temp Graphics bought the current building in the industrial park that has 15,400 square feet.

"We have a little growing room in this building," Rarey says proudly of his company that moved to Columbia with four employees and now supports 28. He still has four of his original employees and gave two 5-year awards at their Christmas celebration, and next year there will be three 10-year award winners.

Employees include: John Rarey, Susan Rarey, Jim, Marsha and David Dotterer, Howard Loy, Angie Crawhorn, Terra Lawhorn, Angie Smith, Lisa Corbin, Joyce Giles, Norma Collins, Jackie Phillips, Beverly Taylor, Krishana Melson, Angie Cowan, Darnella Bennington, Ann Giles, Debbie Jessie, Connie Young, Gina Green, Lisa Coomer, Tammy Walker, Ginger Sexton, Tonya Karnes, Marcy Ryan, Bridget Powell and Shannon Pendleton.

Reliford helps County economy

Jimmy Reliford is an Adair County success story as well as an asset. In addition to keeping his own businesses centered here, he has recruited others like Rarey. He remembers almost having Brandeiss Equipment located here before the oil boom ended in 1985. Since payrolls turn over five times within a community before leaving it, the two men believe that it's far better to have more local, small employers than one large one that can send all its money out of the region, or worse, leave and impact a whole town's payroll all at once.

"We were friends when John decided to relocate his business," says Reliford, about Hi-Temp Graphics, "We originally met in the Cumberland County oil boom in the seventies and have partnered in occasional exploration projects, so I helped him find a location in a building that belonged to Chris Cole."

Oil boomed in Adair and surrounding Counties from 1975 to '85 and then it stopped dead. Reliford was able to weather the transition from then until now because he had diversified into real estate, block and concrete plants and other interests primarily in Adair, Taylor and Green Counties, keeping Reliford Drilling strong and able to support 40-plus employees.

After saving all his money from his first job to get a start in oil, Reliford hit three oil wells in a row right out of the start-up. He says, "I thought then, boy, this is easy! But after that I had to suffer through nine dry holes to learn the lesson that there's nothing easy about it." Both Reliford and Rarey agree, "every business owner discovers that you don't stay on top when you hit on good times, you have to manage tough to be able to survive the down times which always come as things change." Reliford actually quit for two weeks in the late '70s when he had a rig burn to the ground after having cancelled his costly insurance. He hit a big gas well in Albany instead of oil and was unable to contain a blaze that threatened his life. "It wiped me out," Reliford recalls, "I laid around in a daze for two weeks, convinced I was through with drilling, before I realized that I still had my good credit, and decided to start over, determined to be the biggest or the brokest." He started buying rigs and putting them to work and brought his business back to its former level and beyond. And the rest, as they say, is history. Of 28 oil drillers in Adair County in those boom years, Reliford Drilling is the only one remaining.

"Oil business started getting better in 2000 and we're looking at a good year coming up with increasing prices on oil and gas," he says, "The trend is good with oil selling at $30 a barrel today as opposed to $8 a barrel when I started out."

Speaking of forecasting, John Rarey says his business is actually a forecaster trends. "I see a slowdown coming," he says, "because my business is selling business cards - if people slow their purchases of business cards, it tells me the pace of business is slowing down."

A message for all of our businesses might be, "manage smarter in 2001 - just in case the business card prediction might be right".

This story was posted on 2001-02-15 12:01:01
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