Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

The Country Printer Ends 52 Year Run

It was all the way back in 1971 when Roger Brothers saw an opportunity with the new developments in offset printing, that he decided to take the plunge and open The Country Printer in Dix. Brothers got an education in printing at a young age, working for the Western Nebraska Observer in Kimball, and with two stints working at the Sidney Sun-Telegraph, back when the in-house printing press at the location on Illinois Street was printing out newspapers, magazines and other special printing orders. The family home in Dix was the initial location of the business, aptly named The Country Printer.

He was trained in offset printing and had helped set up many printing shops in Denver and around the area, so Roger was able to purchase a few used printing machines and give it a go in Dix. While he built the business, he also managed the family farm. His splitting of time between the family farm and the printing business went on for another 52 years.

"I was always fortunate because when there was a downturn in the farming business, the printing business would pick up the slack, and when there was a downturn in the printing business, the farm would reciprocate" Brothers said.

In the beginning, much of the printing business consisted of doing jobs for schools, hospitals and government agencies. He also did jobs for the federal government, noting, "It was different back then, and you had to physically go to Washington D. C. to bid on certain jobs. We never had an issue with security concerns with the materials we printed because we were out in the middle of nowhere," laughed Brothers.

After growing to 13 employees and with the bulk of their business being devoted to printing Vacation Bible School pamphlets, workbooks and other materials for organizations world wide, in 1984 Brothers moved the business to Potter, where they remained until 1991. In the early 1990s, the business moved back to Dix and into a new building to be closer to the family farm while Brothers' father battled health issues.

The Country Printer did a solid business through the 1990's until the present, adapting to the many changes in technology and printing processes, and being a dependable local printer that many businesses, including the Sun-Telegraph, could rely upon.

"The business keeps on changing, and with all of the computerized processes, it gets harder and harder to stay afloat with a small printing business. Then COVID-19 hit and with all the supply-chain disruptions, many of which continue to this day, it's just getting too difficult to remain profitable," said Brothers. One of the biggest challenges he's dealt with recently is the inability to find quality full-time workers. "This is the first year that I couldn't get full-time help over the summer. It's a real problem in this business, and I've seen other small printers go down because they could not afford to hire workers at the wages they were demanding. We were finally able to get some part-time help, but it's just too little to help."

Brothers decided to close up the business a short time ago. Although a few long-time customers tried to twist his arm to do a few more jobs for them, he's decided to call it quits, and focus just on farming and enjoying some retirement time. "When I look back at my printing career, I look back with nothing but smiles. I got in at the right time, and I'm proud to have been able to adapt to the changes in the business and the changes in technology," he said.

Brothers plans on spending time farming and gardening with his wife of 17 years, DiAnna. He has two sons, Brad and Tim, and Brad lives locally and works on the farm while Tim is a professor at Georgia Tech teaching computer science. Brothers also has horses that he and his wife enjoy to ride, and an RV that he's eager to get out on the road and travel the countryside. "We've worked hard for many years and built a great business, but now it's time to step back and enjoy life for a while," he said.

After 52 years operating the printing press, it can't be said his retirement is not well-deserved.


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