UpClose Marketing & Printing is a full-service center for all your printing, direct mailing, and wide-format needs. We sat down with the owner of UpClose Marketing & Printing, Peter Schmidt.
When did UpClose start?
I bought a rental car franchise and then in 1987 I bought a copy shop on the campus of the University of Illinois. Over the last 30 years or so it morphed into what it is today. The name UpClose actually comes from the street I grew up on called Uplands Close in Southern Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe.
What is your role at UpClose?
I am fortunate in that the people we have, three quarters of them have been here 20 years or more. So all I try to do is whatever they need to make there jobs easier. They know how to do all the day to day, week to week and the month to month stuff far better than I do. I’m usually there for moral support so when they need help, I can help them.
What does a typical day look like for you?
If they need me, I’m here and if they don’t need me, I’m not here. I’m usually reaching out to customers, making sure they are happy or see if they have projects coming up that are a little more complicated or need a little extra coordinating. Then I try to get that start, one of the experts here makes sure it gets done right then.
You do a lot with the community; can you tell me a little bit about what you do with the non-profit community?
It’s a very active non-profit community. I found that out early on from my mom and dad. My dad was the first general manager of Lincoln Square Mall in Downtown Urbana. He was very involved and I was there seeing that. That was one of the reason I ended up selling the rent-a-car business and keeping the copy business that became the printing business. I could have a greater contact with the local community. Customers are local, instead of business people flying in from San Antonio or where ever. We would try to find ways to do projects that fit within their budgets. The design, printing and mailing process can be complicated and we try to make it as easy as possible. We do a lot of mailings for a pretty wide variety of non-profits.
Has your job changed at all with COVID-19 restrictions at all?
Fortunately for us the post office is still delivering mail for a lot of our customers so we are still doing some of those mailings and solicitations. The lack of events hurt us, there’s no Mahomet Music Festival, no Champaign County Fair, there’s no Fisher Fair. A lot of those events have gone by the way side and have taken a toll on our sales. We are probably at 80% of normal sales right now. In April that might have been down to 50% before things started opening back up. Hopefully they will all be back next year and that work will come back to us. We are fortunate that we don’t have a lot of customers that come in but when they do come in they have masks and we have masks. We go through the sanitations process and spray things down before they are delivered. We have had no incidents.
What do you do outside of work?
I have always played a fair bit of golf. I was pretty good when I was in my teens, twenties and now that I’m in my sixties, I’m not near that good anymore. I used to run a fair bit as well but as you get older, I bike, run and enjoy the scenery and nature of Champaign County.
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