Electronic store

“It wasn’t my cup of tea” – Chicago Tribune

Sixty years ago, two business owners wanted to open a liquor store on the corner of Calumet Avenue and Glendale Boulevard in Valparaiso. City officials did not like the idea. It never opened.

Instead, Don Boyce and Jerry Connors opened a printing business, naming it Boy-Conn Printers after their merged surnames. They opened in 1963, with no established business accounts and no idea they would still be in business in 2022, and beyond.

“So it turns out their plan B was a printing company, and we’re here 60 years later and still here,” said Mark Connors, grandson of Jerry Connors, who died in 1969. “We’re like an ant Every day we keep piling and piling and before you know it we’ve built a little pyramid here.

In 1970 Mark’s father, Gary Connors, was abruptly promoted to co-owner, replacing his late father.

“I was just a worker ant back then,” Gary said. “But I kept going and here we are today.”

I asked Gary, who is now 84, if he thought he would still be running Boy-Conn after all these years in business.

“Absolutely not,” he replied without hesitation. “It wasn’t my cup of tea, let me tell you.”

In a 1971 newspaper article hanging on Boy-Conn’s Wall of Fame, Gary is quoted as saying, “With the addition of two machines, Boy-Conn has become the most modern and up-to-date printing plant in the region.”

This crowded wall is adorned with old newspaper articles, samples of vintage work through the decades, and plaques of public recognition, including a 50th anniversary honor from Indiana’s office of governor.

“There’s some vintage stuff here,” Mark Connors said, showing me between customers. “Life moves so fast that these kinds of business milestones get lost in the mess.”

“It’s amazing and we’ve been blessed to be able to make an impact and help people,” Mark said. “We realize how far we have come since those early days. The Northwest Indiana community has been very good to us.

In return, Boy-Conn has been very good to our community, donating print projects on a weekly basis to non-profit organizations, families in need, or raffle tickets to community functions.

“We are always happy to do that. It’s just part of what makes us Valparaiso and Northwest Indiana and the region,” Mark said.

Today, the third-generation operation offers every print product imaginable in an expanding digital world – labels, folders, business cards, envelopes, booklets, flyers, tickets, posters – you name it, they… print.

“We work for businesses large and small and we love that no matter the size of the business, business owners are always excited about the prospect of reaching their customers,” the company’s website says. ‘business. (For more information, visit https://boyconn.com or www.facebook.com/boyconn2/, or call 219-462-2665.)

I contacted Boy-Conn for some custom signs and banners for my upcoming wedding. As soon as I walked through the door, it all came back to me. In the early 1990s, I was a loyal Boy-Conn customer, although I spent virtually no money there. Once a week, I took my crudely drawn political cartoons to Boy-Conn to print extra copies, which I personally delivered to local newspapers for possible publication.

Luckily, I’ve sold dozens of cartoons, usually for $25 each. That’s how I got my foot in the newspaper world, with these cartoons appearing on the opinion pages of local newspapers, including the Post-Tribune. Later, I was asked if I was interested in writing independent stories. I shrugged and said, “Sure.” Since then, I have been writing articles and columns in newspapers.

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Boy-Conn has become a memorable link in my unexpected career as a journalist. Gary Connors doesn’t remember me bothering him every week with those copies of cartoons, but he does. At the time, I had no idea that I would still be in this business in 2022 and beyond.

When I visited Boy-Conn last week to pick up my order of signs and banners, Gary’s son reintroduced us after 30 years. Gary was in the back office, like in the good old days, with his wife, Susan. She is the lifeblood of the business, according to her sons, Mark and Mike Connors, who handle Boy-Conn’s day-to-day operations.

“Our mom still does the daily bookkeeping,” Mike said.

Sure enough, their mother came out of the back office just long enough to pose for a photo and video for this column. (Watch the video on my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/JerDavich/.)

When I joked with the family about the original booze-focused business plan for Boy-Conn, Mark had the perfect answer.

“We may have some at the back. But it’s not for sale,” he said with a smile.

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