|Hitchcock Press Chief Wins Honor|
|By David Reid|
HOLYOKE - In the 33 years since buying Hitchcock Press Inc., J. Guy Gaulin has turned a two-person operation into a company with 20 employees. Its sales and production have grown 10-fold, and Gaulin said the firm is eyeing even more growth.
Last week, the Massachusetts chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business awarded Gaulin, 77, of South Hadley its first Small Business Champion Award.
"Guy's expertise, dedication, leadership and enthusiasm have been invaluable in the fight to protect Massachusetts' small businesses," Bill Vernon, the group's state director, said in a statement.
"It is because of NIFB members like Guy Gaulin that NIFB can fight every day on behalf of small business owners to get our message through to lawmakers in Boston and Washington, D.C.," Vernon wrote.
"This is an organization I'm really enthused about," Gaulin said during an interview last week. Gaulin is the longtime former chairman of the state chapter's leadership group.
The national organization, which touts 600 small-business owners nationwide, says the award identifies outstanding small-business activists who have distinguished themselves through involvement in the organization and "their advocacy on small-business issues"
"I'm really honored to get this award," said Gaulin. "I've worked with them a long time and I really like what they're doing. They're a pretty powerful lobbying group. . . . Coming from that organization, this (award) means a lot to me."
Hitchcock Press is a commercial printer that produces catalogs, brochures, booklets, labels and letterheads.
Gaulin said he is looking to expand into letter press production, an area of printing in which he has been interested for a long time.
In January, Gaulin said he is interested in buying a portion of the former BASF Corp. parcel between Hanover and Stebbins streets. The parcel is six acres. Gaulin's plant is located at 8 Hanover St.
During a public meeting with the Holyoke Economic Development and Industrial Corp., Gaulin said he wants to buy about two acres at the site for parking and plant expansion. The property is being sold for about $50,000 an acre.
"I'm sure, sooner or later, we'll need to expand," Gaulin said at the time. "We don't have any other land (and) we want to stay in Holyoke." He pegged his investment in the new parcel at about $650,000.
The BASF plant, which produced polystyrene resin until 1997, was demolished the following year. Cleanup of the soil is nearly finished, city officials said.
Gaulin has also been active in city business organizations, including the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce, where he heads up the group's Governmental Affairs Committee. As a member of the Holyoke Taxpayers Association and the Mayor's Industrial Advisory Committee, he has been a vocal proponent of a fair property tax rate for the city's business and commercial sectors.
Gaulin said the National Federation of Independent Business advocates for less governmental regulation in areas like health care and workers compensation.
"We're trying to stop government from adopting laws that are onerous. . . . so we can take our money and grow our businesses," Gaulin said. "Mandates are something we usually automatically say no to."
Gaulin is a past president of the Holyoke Lions Club and of the Springfield Club of Printing House Craftsmen.