Failing clients bankrupt elderly print owners

A commercial printer and consumables supplier has closed and its elderly owners declared bankrupt after printers in its small town collapsed and sales dried up.

North Queensland-based Hedges and Simpson Printery owner John Stuart says he and his business partner racked up $180,000 in credit card debts to prop up their failing 12-year-old business.

“We should have closed a couple of years ago but we were foolish and kept maxing out our credit cards trying to keep it going. I’m 82 and should have got out long ago,” he says.

“Printers were closing everywhere so our user base kept getting smaller. We lost $40,000 when one closed up two years ago and that really tipped us over into a downward spiral.”

[Related: More companies in distress]

Stuart says the pair ‘paid off who they could’ before shutting down but other creditors, mostly banks, will likely be left out of pocket.

Hedges and Simpson, in the regional town of Atherton near Cairns, is just another small printing business to be killed off by bad debts and a contracting industry, which can hit small towns particularly hard.

Prominent UV specialist printer Graphics Plus collapsed earlier this month, with $200,000 in bad debts from clients including Geon and Focus Press a major contributing factor.

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