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Sentinel Printing: Building a Community

(March 2011) posted on Wed Mar 09, 2011

"We don't want to just run out and buy from sources that are polluting because they're cheaper."


By Jake Widman

Founded in 1858, Sentinel Printing in Hempstead, New York, is one of Long Island's oldest companies, "perhaps the oldest company that's still in the original business," says company president Glen Boehmer. Sentinel had its beginnings as a town newspaper, but in 1950,when the paper folded, the company re-branded itself as a commercial printer. Boehmer's family, printers for generations themselves, bought the business in 1983.

Today the company employs 12 people and occupies four buildings. Two of the buildings are devoted to digital or hybrid printing: one contains a Heidelberg DI, and the other holds two Xerox DocuColor 5000s. "We use the DI for short-run nonvariable color work, says Boehmer. "Business cards, brochures, fliers – anything that fits in a 12.5 x 18-inch footprint. The Xerox footprint is 13 x 19 inches, but it allows us to do even shorter-run color work plus variable data. Personalized newsletters and postcards are a big part of what we run through them, plus small jobs like PowerPoint presentations and seminar materials.”
The company currently has just one wide-format printer, a 60-inch HP Designjet. But, Sentinel is in the process of acquiring a wide-format print company, and bringing that shop’s equipment in-house as well. Although details could not be released as this article is written, the deal will certainly expand Sentinel’s wide-format toolbox, providing clients with even more output choices.

Sentinel is also currently a candidate for SGP certification. "What I like about SGP is that it's a full philosophy of how your company behaves in its responsibility to the environment." To Boehmer, it's not enough to simply buy sustainably produced paper: "That doesn't mean my company is green," he says. “All it means is that I'm buying green paper. But that's just one element in a printing company."

But Boehmer's efforts didn't start with his determination to seek SGP certification. "There were common-sense things that we had started to do before we went into SGP," he recalls. "For example, we looked at the cleaning we were doing, and we removed bleach from the building. Then one guy I knew started pushing certification and told me, 'You've been environmentally responsible for years, why not just go through the process?'"


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