Briggs Printing celebrates Golden anniversary

KEVIN HARVISON | Staff photoKaitlyn Michael, Rodney Briggs, Alanah Bowling and Madison Mullens hangs out at Briggs Printing, which is celebrating 50 years.

At 16 years old, Leonard Briggs was trained by Fred Rogers at Commercial Printing Co. located on North Main in McAlester. He married Christine Kirkland in September 1949, after they graduated from McAlester High School. He continued to work for Fritz Neil and Commercial Printing and helped them move into a new location. 

It was a small brick building located at 310 S. 2nd St. After printing for 21 years Leonard attended a Small Business Administration workshop and he and Christine decided to go into business in the summer of 1969. Leonard and Christine went out on a limb and borrowed private funds to purchase a brand new Chief 15 offset press and darkroom camera and equipment. 

They rented a building from Q.D. Jones at 4 E. Carl Albert Parkway. They moved the equipment into the small store front that used to be a pool hall/bar. They used the actual bar for the front counter of the print shop. He finished working for Commercial Printing on a Friday and then opened Briggs Printing on Monday. 

Not having one customer in the books, they turned the lights on and waited. Job ticket No. 1 was written up that first week, to Tolson’s Supply for a total of $39.70. The work began and kept coming. Neal Leffler came to work shortly after they opened. Leonard trained

Neal and he continued to work and later manage the shop until the fall of 2006. 

Leonard and Christine decided after a couple of years that they needed to invest in their own building. They purchased the Hackett Home, which had been divided up into apartments, located at 505 S. 2nd St. The house was disposed of and a new building erected that still serves as the home of Briggs Printing. They moved all the equipment, including the bar which was used as the front counter until May, 2019. 

In 1977 they added a large format offset press which allowed them to print full color. Donna Newman came to work as a type setter as they began the computer age. Ronda Talley joined the team as a graphic artist and worked until 2017. In the 1980’s they installed the first XEROX copier.

Neal Leffler became manager as Leonard and Christine retired around 2000. Then as Neal came to retirement he had a conversation with Rodney Briggs, son of Leonard and Christine. After a time the decision was made to sell the assets of Briggs Printing Inc. to Rodney and the new version of Briggs Printing LLC. began in the fall of 2006. 

Theresa Briggs, daughter in law of Rodney and Sherri Briggs, came into the business, first as the book keeper. Then in 2015, Theresa came into the shop full time and began the process of becoming the manager. About the same time, the shop went from offset and digital to a fully digital shop. Adding more digital presses, the industry grew into fast-turn, short-run color work. 

Rodney Briggs retired from the shop in 2017 and Theresa Briggs became manager, keeping the Briggs name attached to the business. Ronda Tally retired and was replaced by Barrett Fadler as the new graphic artist. New machines were added increasing the capabilities of the shop. Briggs Printing LLC has become the quick copy and design center for the greater McAlester area. They are now printing business forms, envelopes, personal notes, invitations, announcements, posters, banners, booklets, menus, brochures, stickers, etc. They can design art and logos needed for any print job. 

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