When Jack Stickler was a toddler, his parents would find him out in the neighborhood playing at 3 in the morning.
“I never slept,” remembers the owner of JRS Printing on Brighton Park Boulevard. “I’ve always been that way. I’m always afraid I’m going to miss something.”
His ability to stay up allows him to boast the fastest custom print shop in town. Though the shop officially closes at 5 p.m., he often stays long after to finish.
“I won’t leave until every job is done for the day, unless it’s a job that takes multiple days,” Stickler says. “I like to be completely clean before the next day, so I can tell anyone, ‘Yeah, I can do it now.’”
In August, he stayed up 70 hours straight to finish a printing job for Franklin County Public Schools.
“When I was young, I could make it on 30 minutes of sleep at night, but as I’ve gotten older, I have to have energy drinks or coffee to make it on that,” says the 46-year-old.
And he doesn’t charge extra for the speed. His prices are lower than his major competitors, he says. JRS Printing has everything from large presses for the big jobs to small printers for people who need to stop in to make a copy. Customers also stop in with an idea for a flyer or invitation, and he whips it up.
More than half the customers on a recent afternoon asked, “That’s all?” when Stickler smiled and gave them their charge. Even better, when customers from nonprofits and churches asked for discounts, he was obliging.
He gives half off of orders for churches, explaining that it’s his way of giving back for the blessings and breaks he enjoys himself.
That goodwill comes from a guy who recently lost everything in the slow economy. He’s the former owner of Frankfort Blueprint and Supply, which ran for about 10 years before it closed in 2010.
“I held on as long as I could, but with getting behind with federal and state taxes, I decided to close it out and start up something small.”
At its height, Frankfort Blueprint had 12 employees and a robust clientele, but when the economy slipped, so did ad sales for the magazines that were a big part of its profits.
“I made sure everyone had a job before I closed down,” Stickler said. A few months later, he opened JRS Printing, operated by only himself and a full-time pressman, Mark Johnson.
“When I opened, I had absolutely $0 to my name, I mean I didn’t have a penny,” he says, adding that he also owed thousands in federal and state back taxes and thousands more to about 12 vendors.
He’s still working overtime to dig out of the hole, but the end is in sight.
“It’s picked up a lot here lately, I don’t know if it’s the economy or word of mouth, but almost everyone who comes in here says they tell everyone about me.”
Maybe it’s his friendly nature, the way he remembers his customers and their chatty details or the way he patiently explains the printing process. Whatever it is, it’s nonstop traffic in the little shop.
There’s only one thing that Stickler stops his work for, and that’s his daughter Ashleigh, 14.
“She’s the most important thing to me,” he says. “I put a stop to everything when it comes to visiting with her.”
Ashleigh actually enjoys hanging out in the print shop, but her dad isn’t so keen on staying where he spends nearly every waking hour.
“I gotta get out when I can,” he says with a smile.
Location: 126 Brighton Park Blvd.
Hours: Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. unless the open sign indicates otherwise.