It was November 1976 when, with a $5,000 loan and 500 square feet of leased space, Sam Hirji began to turn a childhood dream into reality. More than a quarter century later, the bustling atmosphere, in what has become Vancouver's best-known downtown commercial print company, bears witness to the philosophy that "performance attracts customers, but consistent performance keeps them coming back." The digital and connected Samco of today is a world away from the day when Sam first ventured out to serve the print buyers of British Columbia. His dedication to, and passion for first class service has endured to the benefit of every Samco customer and the success of every job.
Uprooted from his home country of Uganda, East Africa, by the political crisis of 1972, Sam spent a month with his family in a refugee camp in Italy before immigrating to Canada.
Training started for Sam as a child in Uganda where he worked in the well-established family print shop started by his grandfather. Family expertise in the print industry can be traced back to the 1880's when his pioneering great grandfather ran the family's first print shop under the British Raj in India. In Canada, Sam now proudly continues a tradition that spans three continents and four generations.
Once settled in Vancouver, a graphic arts course refined his knowledge of costing, estimating, typesetting, press work and camera techniques. After a 3-month apprenticeship with a Vancouver printer, and with his keen entrepreneurial spirit, he was ready to go into business on his own.
Today Samco Printers is testament to the diligence and relentless energy Sam has applied personally in collaboration with a small group of dedicated staff. He believes on a winning business formula that is his committed self-discipline (he worked 14 hours per day, seven days per week for the first two years) and an allegiance to deadlines.
He remembers a certain trust company executive who needed a high gloss, 40-page, 2-colour prospectus ready for distribution in 15 hours. "That was at least a 30-hour job", Sam notes with content, "involving a lot of typesetting, camera work, proofreading, layout and design, before we could even go to press. The staff worked straight through the night and delivered the job well on time."
Dedication such as this to the Company's clientele has been repeated thousands of times since 1976.
In the beginning, Sam acted primarily as a printing broker – accepting work from clients, rushing all over town to find "the super deal", and juggling deadlines to meet his own commitments with clients.
Today, all jobs are completed in-house. The Company employs 35 permanent professionals in design, typesetting, bindery and press work, producing large jobs for national organizations and personalized jobs for individuals from concept to finished product all under one roof.
Printing knowledge and hard-earned expertise, together with basic business and accounting principles learned from his father, helped in the early years, with the operational and financial aspects of his rapidly expanding venture. The advent of digital technology in administration, prepress and printing has only enhanced an already encyclopedic knowledge of the printing process.
Sam feels the major contributor to his company's success is service and quality. The Company is in a continual state of self-improvement and development, and in step with technological advances in the industry. Samco Printers Ltd. has never failed to adapt to change. The Company has acquired and upgraded to the latest state-of-the-art equipment to meet the demand for innovative quality work.
Sam's personal involvement continues despite having introduced automated production processes. With his attention to details and deadlines, his demand for product excellence and a keen desire to please his clients, he has created one of Vancouver's most recognized and enduring companies.
When we say we’ll do a job, we always do it right, even a small copying job. Errors detected in the customer’s copy are pointed out and corrected. Our clients know they can rely on us to do the job on time and right and that’s what keeps them coming back.
We are not a low-cost, budget print shop. That is not the market we are after. With the quality of service, we guarantee that our clients do get industry-standard prices along with the bonus of the best customer service available in Vancouver or anywhere else.
President & CEO
Samco Printers Ltd.