Our History through the Years
In 1867 William Craig, part owner and publisher of The Southland News, does general printing work alongside his newspaper commitments under the name Craig & Co.
After selling the News, William Craig establishes a printing company, Wm Craig & Co., in Tay Street, Invercargill. The original premises consist of a single storey wooden building with a small factory behind. The company’s first newspaper advertisement in 1877 offers letterpress, lithographic and copperplate printing, bookbinding and paper ruling. The company’s first telephone link is in 1895.
In 1903 William Craig dies and his son Samuel takes over the business, now called Craig & Co. By now the original cottage has been replaced by a much larger two storey building.
In 1920 Sam Craig sells the business to Messrs Dennison, Hind and Wilson, who incorporate the company, Craig Printing Company Limited. The staff number 12. In 1923 a new building is constructed next door at 67 Tay Street. Craigs’ stationery shop moves into the front of this building, and the printing factory follows in 1925, the same year that Craigs takes delivery of the first Heidelberg letterpress printing machine sold in NZ.
Craigs purchases the Phoenix boxmaking company. Stone lithography ceases as a method of printing. In 1936 Southland’s first photoengraving department is formed. Because of this, photograph images can now appear regularly in Southland’s two daily newspapers as well as Craigs’ general printing work. In 1939 the first company car, an Austin, is purchased.
The premises are renovated including a major upgrade of the stationery shop. New equipment is purchased including the company’s first offset press. The shop’s typewriter repair department is closed.
In 1975 Craigs merges with McKenzie Print and the premises are enlarged with the purchase of several adjoining buildings. The company celebrates its centenary. In 1977 Craigs take over the Times Printing Service. In 1978 the first phototypesetter is purchased and Craigs moves into book publishing and printing.
A photocopying service begins. In 1983 the last metal letterpress block is etched. A four colour printing press is purchased in 1986 followed a year later by the company’s first Apple Mac computer.
In 1992 Craigs join the nationwide retail franchise, Office Products Depot. In 1996 the first imagesetter is purchased and a mechanical collator is installed in the bindery. Email communication begins in 1997 and the company’s first website is constructed.
Craigs purchases Atlas Print in 2001. The printing factory moves to 122 Yarrow Street, Invercargill. A customer services branch is opened in Queenstown. New equipment is purchased including two five colour Komori Lithrone presses; the digital copy centre is expanded. In 2005 Craigs is awarded its first prestigious Pride In Print gold medal and would go on to win two more, in 2007 and 2011. Computer To Plate technology arrives in 2007. A flow wrapper is purchased. The company acquires the Invercargill and Queenstown franchise for PrintStop.
In 2010 due to global recession the company is forced into voluntary receivership.The firm is then purchased and split in two with the Wills family buying the printing side of the business. Craigs Office Products Depot carries on with a new owner and is now based in Spey Street; a completely separate business.
With the ongoing technological upgrades, the experience of its 35+ skilled staff, and the company’s diversification into the promotional arena, with products such as printed textiles, branded apparel, custom printed promotional products, large format printing, flags and signage, Craigs continues to be one of the leading printers in the South Island.