PORT TOWNSEND — In a small town, sometimes long-time competitors are friends. And friends help friends when they are in need.
Dan Huntingford, owner of SOS Printing — a printing, copying and bindery service company in Port Townsend for 21 years — recently became seriously ill and within a matter of a few weeks decided to close his business.
Mike Kenna, owner of Printery Communications — a Port Townsend-based multi-service company specializing in offset and digital printing, direct mail and creative services — has been in business for 42 years.
Kenna and Huntingford know each other well, having homes near each other in Discovery Bay. Their children played together when they were young.
“We’ve been friends forever,” Kenna said.
When Kenna learned Huntingford was in need, he tried to reach out.
“I understood that Dan had an event on his birthday in October. My employees were talking with his employees. Something had happened to Dan, but no one knew what exactly what was going on,” Kenna said.
He said he inquired immediately. Trying to reach Huntingford, however, proved difficult.
“He was being treated in Seattle pretty much all the time. He was not responding to my emails, but I kept trying.”
Kenna finally reached Huntingford’s wife, Louise, and learned what was happening.
“We finally got together,” Kenna said. “I was trying to figure out what to do and how to help. I proposed to Dan to purchase the business. We had the documents drawn up. I had to wait because the only time we could get together was on the weekends.”
Kenna said he felt it was important to keep SOS Printing running smoothly and to help Huntingford’s customers with their immediate needs.
“That’s one of the things from an owner’s standpoint — you hate not to take care of your customers and employees,” he said. “That’s just number one. It’s a feeling you grow into and that’s just part of you, no matter what.”
Kenna and Huntingford worked out the purchase of some assets including the digital presses, and all client files, production art and customer art.
He said customers have been contacted and projects that were in process have been or are in the process of being completed.
Kenna arranged for the offset printing equipment to be sold through a broker. The phones have been transferred to the Printery and emails are being redirected to Kenna.
“We’ve talked with the employees and they are kind of in shock, really,” he said. “I’ve talked with all of them several times. They know we are interested in trying to help them with positions here, so we are giving them time to think about it.”
An office supply sale was held Thanksgiving weekend at the SOS location to liquidate some assets. Items for sale included all furniture and plenty of paper stock.
“SOS helped small businesses be successful and that’s what we’ll continue to do for them,” Kenna said. “They were doing applications like nonprofit work and appeals for donations, which are especially important this time of year.”
“I’m comfortable and am feeling like everything is at a point where it’s OK, so Dan and Louise will know everything is OK,” he said.
Kenna said Huntingford is a well-loved member of the community, with deep roots. He said he comes from a family that has a heritage in the county.
Huntingford’s family asked that details of his illness not be made public.
Huntingford was the advertising manager for The Port Townsend Leader for 20 years before purchasing a bookkeeping service named Speedy Office Services. He then opened his printing business, keeping the SOS moniker.
“Dan is not a man of many words,” Kenna said. “He is very quiet, honest and sincere. We all wish him well.”
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected].