That’s Cynthia Turner and her brother, Terry Parker. In 1980, they opened a printing business in a building they rented, in downtown Fort Payne, Alabama. In 1985, I moved to nearby Mentone, Alabama. I needed a printer and, after a false start, I found DeSoto Printing and Cynthia and Terry. They’ve been my friends and my printers for the past twenty-seven years, and I’m really pleased about both of those things. They are the best at everything they do – friendship and printing.
When I asked Cynthia about their startup, she said, “I remember the day we opened like it was yesterday. I had to leave the office to register my oldest for school.”
She paused, looked at me and smiled, then said, “Bert, he’s 38 years old now.”
I thought about that for a second, swallowed hard, then said, “We’ve been doing this a long time, my friend.”
“Yes we have,” she said, and added, “And what can I do for you today.” We both laughed, and I told her what I needed.
I know if I need anything, Cynthia and Terry will find it. Before there was Google, I had something just as good. I had Terry and Cynthia. I’d tell them my problem, and I haven’t always limited my questions to things related to printing, and they would find the answer. Not every now and then, but every time.
I’ve been fortunate in my life finding people who go the extra mile as a matter of routine. At the top of my list of those people are Terry and Cynthia; DeSoto Printing. Their work is always impeccable to the tenth power, and they do more of it than I pay for – If I order 3,000 invoices, I’ll get an extra two or three hundred. If I need the job today, they make it happen. If I have to pick it up at midnight, because that’s when I’m coming through town, I’ll find it on the loading dock, at the appointed time, and it will be wrapped in weather-proof plastic with a thank you note attached.
I’ve stood at their service counter and shared stories with other DeSoto Printing customers about how great they are, and there is always someone to top every story. I don’t think there’s an end to the customer satisfaction they’ve generated in thirty-eight years. The fact that they have a new building, a much larger staff, and a customer base that is located over a wide geographical area hasn’t changed a thing; well, maybe it has – they might be even better than they were in the beginning, in fact, I’m sure they are, and I’m equally sure I’m better for having done business with them all these years.
That’s DeSoto Printing’s example for writers – never stop improving your skill. Give more than is expected. Always be there for your readers, and be there with the very best story you can write. If you do that, readers will find you, and they will continue to travel down the path to your door. Oh, and they’ll bring friends.