Te Awamutu’s Rosetown Print to turn a new page

Departing Rosetown Print owners Trudi (left) and David Morris with long-time employee Jayne Fortis. Photo / Jesse Wood

After 43 years in business, Te Awamutu’s David and Trudi Morris, of Rosetown Print, are ready to print their retirement travel itinerary.

The Morrises have just sold Rosetown Print to fellow printing business Kale Print, which is based in Tauranga.

Kale Print has worked alongside the Morrises for many years, so Rosetown Print won’t be closing. Instead it will continue as a stand-alone business unit as part of Kale.

David started his printing apprenticeship in the early 1970s at the Te Awamutu Courier under George Warburton, son of founder Arthur.

“My old man said to me, ‘If you go out and find a job, a trade, then you can leave school’. I wanted to be a mechanic to start with, but printing popped up and I’ve never looked back,” David said.

“We’ve still got two of the original machines that we had down there on [Alexandra St].”

David finished his apprenticeship in 1975 and went on to work at Typecraft in Carlton St.

His retirement 48 years later hasn’t come easily and he has loved his time in the industry thanks to his loyal customers. Ink is in his blood.

“We saw a business advertised in Tokoroa. We bought it but moved it all up here. David would trek down a couple of times a month as he needed to. Our first client was probably from Tokoroa,” Trudi said.

Rosetown Print opened its doors in Te Awamutu in 1981, where Simply The Best Takeaways is in Sloane St, before moving further down the street to its present site in 1996.

The business quickly grew from a small shop to a large, purpose-built printing factory servicing clients throughout New Zealand.

Over the years David and Trudi added to their equipment, buying out print businesses as they closed, including the Te Awamutu Courier commercial printing department and Offset Printing.

“In the good old days, I’d have the machine running and I’d go home for tea while the machine was still printing,” David said.

“It’s certainly changed a lot since we started with digital printing, it’s made a huge difference. You can come in for a job and it can be done within four hours now.”

1996: Rosetown Print owners David and Trudi Morris (right) view a recently completed magazine with staff members (from left) Mark Thomson (printer), Jim Patmore (design/typesetter) and Jayne Fortis (bindery/office). Photo / Te Awamutu Courier

The couple have had many long-term employees over their 40-plus years and Jayne Fortis has been with them for much of that time.

Kale Print has appointed Jayne as its new Te Awamutu branch manager.

“There will now be more possibilities and options for our clients as Kale Print offer a wider range of products. The Te Awamutu office will continue to operate as usual and customers will see very little difference when they pop into the shop,” Jayne said.

“The team at Kale Print are really supportive and are nice people to work with. We’ve worked with them for many years outsourcing some of our really big jobs there.

“We’ve talked about it for a while, that Kale buying the business would be the best-case scenario. I trust in their products and I trust in who they are because I’ve worked with them. They’ve never let us down and they’re just the warmest people.”

David and Trudi said they would like to thank everybody for their support over the past 44 years.

David said Rosetown Print has had loyal customers and the firm wouldn’t have been in business this long without them.

“We’ve kept them going and they’ve kept us going. It works both ways,” he said.

“Please make sure that you support Kale like you’ve supported us,” Trudi added.

David hasn’t been well recently, so once he and Trudi clear out their shop they hope to travel and spend as much time with family as possible.

Kale Print general manager Peter Lloyd said David approached them some time ago about buying the business.

Peter said Kale Print didn’t want the business to close or to lose the Morrises’ legacy in Te Awamutu.

“It’s similar to Endeavour Print in Whitianga. That business was looking at shutting down and we wanted to keep it alive to carry on servicing the Coromandel. For us it’s about giving the customers what they want,” Peter said.

Kale Print also owns Rotorua’s Advocate Print, as well as its main headquarters in Tauranga.

“Kale Print has a long-standing, proud tradition of community support. Supporting our local organisations and that extends to our group of companies in the regions,” Kale Print brand manager Tessa Lawrence said. “It’s important to us that we look after our community, our teams and foster a culture where our people feel valued and supported.”

Kale Print has been around almost as long as Rosetown Print, founded in 1984.

“There’s generations of ink running in the veins. Stephen Kale the director, his father was also in printing. The Kale children obviously came up in the industry too. Stephen’s two sons and daughter are also heavily involved in the company,” Tessa said. Brent Kale as the Operations Manager at Kale Print, Gavin Kale as Production Manager, and Rochelle Charteris as a Graphic Designer, now based in Taranaki.

Peter added the purchase of the other regional printing businesses gave Kale Print diversity.

“What we’ve found with the group, now that we’ve got printing in Tauranga, Rotorua, Te Awamutu and Whitianga in the Coromandel, it’s given us that diversity so if we do have complications we’ve got other staff in other regions that can support us. It gives reliability,” Peter said.

With plenty of options for all members of the community, the new — but same — Rosetown Print will keep its doors open, Tessa said.

“It’s about passion for print in a tough industry.

“[As well as] helping out the communities to retain those services in the regions.”

Kale Print will move Rosetown Print into a smaller location in the high street of Te Awamutu.

by Jesse Wood, Te Awamutu Courier / NZME


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