A Little History...
A young man named Erwin J. Mahlandt worked with the Breese Journal since its inception in 1921, starting as an apprentice to Guy C. Stearns. On May 6, 1925, he purchased the newspaper at just 21 years of age.
In the early days, the Breese Journal was printed on a two-page Huber press that could handle about 500 copies an hour. After one side was finished, the newspapers were turned over and printed on the opposite side. If eight pagescomprised the paper, the process was reversed. The papers were hand-folded and hand-addressed by pencil as there were no addressing machines or even ballpoint pens.
When Erwin purchased the publishing business, it was housed in a brick three-story building in downtown Breese where it remained until March 1998. For many years, a local jeweler occupied the west half of the building. It wasn’t until the newspaper converted to offset or “cold type” in 1968 that the western half was used by the Breese Journal.
The day-to-day operation of the paper shifted a bit when Erwin’s son Jerry, a graduate of the University of Missouri, entered the business in 1950. Jerry became a partner in the establishment, and over the years, the circulation of the newspaper grew to over 5,000.
The family involvement continued when Jerry’s sons joined the firm. Steve started in 1977, while Dave’s involvement began in 1982.
Steve’s son, Josh, entered into the business in 2006 and represents the Mahlandt’s fourth generation at Breese Printing & Publishing Company. Today, the business continues to expand and thrive in both its newspaper and commercial printing businesses after nearly a century of family-owned operation.
In 1998, the business was moved to a 100,000-square-foot building which has since grown to 175,000-square-feet on the west end of Old Route 50 in Breese. Sales offices and production facilities were added with the acquisitions of Highland Printers in 2003 and K & D Printing in 2006.
In the early 1980s, the staff was comprised of six full-time employees and several part-time personnel. Today, Breese Printing and Publishing Company employs over 175 people in the various departments. The four-generation owners have realized the importance of using the Journal’s resources to their fullest capabilities. Each time a new press or computer is added and each time a new position is created, progress occurs.
A large Linotype hot-lead typesetting machine and an archaic hand-fed press greet guests when they enter the building. The two pieces of equipment serve as immediate reminders that the company, which now prints hundreds of publications, was conceived and nurtured by a man who set type one line at a time and addressed newspapers — to his hundreds of subscribers — by hand.
Josh Mahlandt stands by the hand-fed press used by his grandfather, Erwin J. Mahlandt.