The Freemans weren’t exactly looking to get into the printing and promotional items business. In fact, Bob Freeman, who had a background in engineering, was simply looking into options for business ownership when his realtor suggested - part of a franchise based out of California - with a shop located in Danvers that had just hit the market.
Pip Printing has been a staple in the Danvers Village strip of shops since the 1970s. The property was once the site of a butchery, before it became Postal Instant Press, and finally evolved into what is now known as Pip Printing.
The Freeman’s took a chance and never looked back. Sept. 8 of this year marked the 22nd anniversary at Pip Printing.
While Phyllis Freeman grew up in Brookline, husband Bob grew up in Sharon where the couple settled to raise their son. For many years, Bob Freeman commuted the 30 plus miles from Sharon to tackle the daily responsibilities at Pip.
“After our son graduated from high school, we relocated to Beverly to be closer to the business,” she explained, noting since then they have become proud grandparents.
According to Phyllis Freeman, Pip is the only true printing company left in Danvers after a competitor went out of business a few years back.
“We're...still standing. After Sir Speedy closed, we bought their customers.”
Over the years, Pip Printing has managed to evolve to suit their market to coincide with changes and improvements in technology.
“We are competing with online like everyone else. But here you can come in you can feel the paper, we will offer options and help with the layout. We have a full time press person and graphic artist. Our computer is hooked up to our printers, so if someone sends us a PDF we can print it out. A lot of people have color printers now...so if it's a small business, they may run off their own, so we've lost a little of that...,” said Freeman.
In addition to flyers, copies, invitations and the other expected printing duties, Pip opened up it’s product base to include promotional items, from signs and banners, to doughnut boxes, gift cards, checks and personalized labels.
“Anything that's printed, we most likely can do; we found cryptic labels that go to minus forty degrees for a customer; we did retractable banners, for another. There's a lot we can do that people don't even associate with Pip, like pens and pocket calendars. We have a lot on our website and on Facebook,” she said.
She describes her business as, “very much a customer-oriented company. We want to work with customers to give them the best product possible.” She added their 100 percent guarantee rarely comes to pass due to their attention to detail, and their signed proof system.
She continued, “Our website is awesome, our portfolio is great, you can request a quote and a file.” Through the website, customers can access the online ordering template, with an interactive online mailing program so they can create their own mail list.
“We can do the mailing for them, or they have the option to do it themselves,” Freeman continued. “We are also very into integrated marketing. You can't just do one thing, social media is great, everyone is doing it, but you still need to do marketing, printing, and mailings.”
Freeman stated that most businesses view the beginning of the school year as a time to kick off their marketing and get their name out there, and she said she wants them to think of Pip first. “We work with a lot of local companies, for instance, we did all the posters and flyers for the . Working with Laura Cilley on that was cool, and (we really enjoyed) doing that for the rail trail. I’m a strong believer in supporting local businesses and not the Internet,” she said.
Until five years ago Phyllis Freeman had only a limited interest at PIP handling the accounts, a skill she learned while working in her father's business back in her hometown of Brookline.
“Pip was really my husbands thing. He was an engineer and very detail oriented. I was a special needs teacher, and then I had my son and was home for many years. My father owned a contracting company, and he suggested I come in and learn the business. That’s where I learned accounting... before that I couldn't even balance my checkbook, thank God for Quickbooks,” Freeman laughed. “My husband suggested I do marketing for Pip, because I'm a social person, I like to be out. We make a good team.”
Embracing her new role with gusto, Freeman joined the Peabody Chamber, The North Shore Business Forum and Women In Business, and got to work marketing for Pip Printing.
“We're outside the square, off the beaten path. I walked through the downtown area just three weeks ago and mentioned our business as I went into some to the stores...and I couldn't believe nobody knew we were here. I’m very much a networking person; Being in the flesh is more important than any online, social media or flyer.”
67 High St., Danvers