When J.W. and Ruth Perry saw a small print shop called Miller Printing for sale in a Dallas newspaper in 1962, it seemed like a good opportunity. J.W. had spent 14 years in the printing industry and was ready for his next challenge. His boss wasn’t ready to retire, which would have left an opening for him to move into, so he began to look for something else.
Miller Printing was certainly something else.
It had been started in the mid-1930s by R.E. Miller, but after his death in 1952, it changed hands a couple of times until the Perrys found it for sale. They hit the road for Temple.
When they arrived in town that summer, it was clear that business had been difficult for the print shop. Miller Printing had NO print jobs in production, had just ONE employee, and various office supplies in the front. It was located at 120 South 1st Street at Avenue B. (The building still stands in downtown Temple today, currently unoccupied.)
“We pulled up in the front of that building,” Ruth says, “And I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, how are we ever going to be able to afford this? It just looked so big.”
But their friends in the printing business told them they could make it work. After all, they had some experience — between J.W.’s printing experience, and Ruth’s time accounting education at Howard Payne University, it seemed like the ingredients were there.
There were those with their doubts, of course. After they’d committed to buy the business, a local banker said he’d advise against going into business, due to the state of the economy at the time, which was in a recession.
But the Perrys did what the Perrys always did. They got to work. The newspaper welcomed them with an article about their purchase.
J.W. would go drum up business all morning, then come back to the shop, put on an apron, and start making deliveries.
Ruth says it took a while to build up the business, but it went well, until finally they set their sights on another business in town — American Printing.
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