I remember when my father started this business in 1977. He started at home and he had the garage packed with many wooden cabinets loaded with drawers and drawers of lead type. Back then Dad took up printing as a hobby and it developed into a business. Dad really liked the equipment and the artistic process of printing. Each of those drawers had a complete alpha numeric set of one type face in maybe two or three sizes. Dad would meticulously arrange words letter by letter and insert them in a chase that would be installed on a platen press shown here on the right. Of course after the print job was complete, Dad would need to clean all the type and organize them back in the wooden drawers. Looking back it seemed to be quite the cumbersome process.
Starting as Gage of Guthrie – because that’s where we lived – the name has changed a few times. My father moved several times since Guthrie and so did the name. Bill’s Rubber Stamps followed and then he changed it to Gage Marking Products Inc. That’s when I joined the business. My father had recently acquired a storefront location on Dunlop Street in downtown Barrie and business soon began to thrive. Dad needed help, so I started to come in at nights and help out. As I did more in the business I became interested in learning more. After a couple years the business got busy enough to hire me full time, so I took a leap of faith and jumped in with both feet. In 1988 we incorporated the company.
The business has seen quite a few changes in technology over the years. When I started there were no desktop computers so we were still using the photographic process to create type and images. My father was intrigued by computers and soon had a hobby of learning how they worked and trying different ones. He had a Commodore 64, and IBM Pet and some of the first Apple desktops. Soon the business had a sparkling new 286 personal computer. What a change the computer made. Now designs took minutes instead of hours. The immediate change enhanced all our products and services.
As the business grew and more equipment was needed we ran out of space. A larger storefront became available not too far down Dunlop Street and we made it our new home. After five years at that location my father retired and I took over sole ownership. I also found that we could not continue at a downtown location. The larger the business grew the bigger the equipment needed to be and the building became inadequate for that expansion. So we relocated to Hart drive into an industrial building with a concrete floor and large doors. It was at that location we created a division within the company, Gage Print & Design. This name was created to effectively market our printing and graphic design products and services. With the evolution of the internet, we also expanded into website design and online marketing offering a complete business communication service to our clients and helping them move their business online.
In 2009 we were on the move again. This time the move was to the south end of Barrie where many of the business we serviced were moving to. It was an easy decision as there were many changes at our old location that we did not see as improvements. Our current location at 551 Bryne Dr. Barrie is new, clean, highly visible and well appointed. A large parking area makes it convenient for our clients.
During the last move in 2009 we changed the name once more – hopefully for the last time – to Gage Business Communication Inc. I wanted a name that reflected all our products and services, and as we help a wide range of businesses communicate their business effectively, this name says it all. Gage consists of three divisions, Gage Print & Design, Gage Stamp & Badge and Gage Web Design.
In 2011, I was happy to have my son Jamie join the family business and marks the 3rd generation Gage. Jamie manages our Rubber Stamp and Name Badge Division and also delivers the high quality Gage client service for all of our product lines.
Over the years the staff has come and gone and I am now happy to say that I have a highly talented team of professionals that are not only excited about their careers, but are happy to share their extensive knowledge of the products and services we offer.
We have a great team and we all believe in our slogan: We Gage our Success by Your Success!