Lisa and I were kindly invited to the 15th Anniversary gathering of a business we once owned.
We started Palliser Printing & Publishing in 1986. Lisa and I were in our early twenties with a baby on the way.
We sold the company in the summer of ’03 to Dee and Rod Conklin from Calgary.
Their 15th Anniversary has made me reminisce about the early days of the company.
I remember it being a lot of long hours and hard work.
The print shop was a mess of paper, presses, photocopiers, computers, an old arc plate burner, a darkroom complete with vertical camera for composing film, to later, be stripped on one of the several light tables. The smell of ink was always in the air. We survived a fire and a flash flood. Not unscathed, but we survived.
Later we moved to better quarters. For every step forward we made, we were never sure how we were going to pay for it. It is like the old saying, ‘build your parachute while falling to earth.’
Often we had bills at the end of the month that exceeded our bank account. The poorest we ever were was when we were the busiest. We juggled.
Yet, our children came to work with us. They had a place to play in the back shop. A cozy couch. They helped out. Built forts in the broken down cardboard.
The business was lucrative enough to allow us to buy a house. Our kids were in figure skating, dance and hockey. We were able to afford dental care for them.
Sometimes it was a balancing act. Lisa often worked the front with a baby on her hip. I always felt bad about that. There is no maternity leave when you own the business.
We were lucky. Since then I’ve worked at a few places. We have never made what it would take to raise a family at todays prices. Not even close.
Everything we have is because of that first business we started when Kelsie was in Lisa’s belly. When things seemed to be changing in a flash. When I had plenty of youth, energy and anger to see any job through.
Now it’s different. Those were good days. Now I’m glad to be a Grandpa making minimum wage, crossing logs gingerly, tilting glasses and nodding head to read the fine type.
Congratulations to Dee and Rod on their 15th Anniversary owning Palliser.