and we are ...

Life is what happens to you
while you're busy making other plans
Unitac first opened its doors in 1969 in Rochester, New York. The new company specialized in stationery printing for the local business community. As printshops go, there was little to distinguish the young start-up from dozens of other small printers in the area. With one notable exception: it advertised its prices. Unitac's strategy was to sell printing not as a one-of-a-kind job but as a range of predefined products.

The reasoning was that an 8½x11 letterhead in black ink on white 24 lb bond was neither easier nor more difficult to produce for ACME Tools than it was for Empire Builders. After a few false starts and some adjustments, what had worked for Henry Ford soon began working for us.

Now I grant you, building cars isn't the same as putting ink on paper . . . Henry didn't have to contend with hundreds of paper items in thousands of colors. But we felt the obstacles were surmountable, and by 1976 Unitac had formulated enough standard products to publish a 40-page price book.

The book was an instant hit with our customers. Not only was it now much easier to order printing - buyers no longer had to call us to find out how much it would cost - it was cheaper, too. Our price book instantly showed the most cost efficient quantity.

All that was missing was a computer to generate the prices. Recalculating each and every item by hand every year was a time-consuming chore. But missing it would have to stay, because back then even a "mini" computer would first empty your wallet and then fill an entire floor. In 1976 there were no computer stores, no boxed software, no PC's.

The door opened in 1978 when a local hobby shop began selling a home computer kit in a fancy blue metal case or plain wood. We opted for the wood. It took me two years after hours to put together that little Horizon and learn NorthStar Basic so I could write a pricing program, but by July of 1980, Unitac had produced the first computer-generated price book for printing in America. A year later, IBM introduced the PC.

A New Day. The new millennium saw a change in direction for Unitac, one in which our focus shifted from putting ink on paper to making the print management software we had developed for our own shop available to printers around the world. First out of the hangar was a free estimating program released to the community in April of 2005. By July of 2006, the number of installations had surpassed 2,000.

After 36 years of washing up ink fountains and clearing out paper jams, we're no longer in the printing business. Our presses have been sold, and for the past ten years we've been making and selling software. True to the promise we made in 2005, we're still giving away our Free Edition, no strings attached.

Looking back, printing has made for a good life, midnight oil and all. I'm happy we're still part of the industry.

Helmut "Hal" Heindel
I don't choose to write and design and create things - I have to.
Theresa "Terry" Zicari
Like herding cats sometimes, just trying to keep it together.
Cousin Mel
I can tell you when it's right: When you don't make me think.