Southland Celebrates 50 Years as a Ticket Supplier
This year, Southland Printing Co. (SPC), a longtime family-owned business based in Shreveport, LA, and the premier producer of parking lot tickets, marks the 50th anniversary of its founding by John A. Manno Sr. “with the purpose of providing a quality product, at a reasonable price, in a timely manner.”
Even though the motto “Doing Better What We Do Best” was not officially decreed by Angie Manno until the mid-1970s, it has been at Southland Printing’s heart since its inception in 1960, the company says, and continues to be its “guideline in maintaining its image during both good times and bad.”
Its more than 60 employees celebrated SPC’s 50th anniversary in January. The occasion was caught up in memories that began in the mind of “Johnny” Manno in the basement of father-in-law Sam Bruno’s home.
Here’s a company recounting of some of those reminiscences:
“Selling and making delivery of that first job, purchasing that first press, adding that first employee, renting that first building, borrowing that first ‘big buck,’ purchasing those first properties, long hard hours, taking risks – all were ingredients in building the firm foundation of the successful company that Southland Printing now claims. Nostalgia, oh yes!”
And the company account goes on with its trip down memory lane:
“After Southland’s humble beginnings in the Allendale section of Shreveport, the company moved to its present location on Airport Drive in May 1964, renting only a small portion of the present buildings.
“Printing hand-issued tickets on a small offset duplicator, collating these tickets by hand and cutting them with a manual cutter, the company eventually built a specially designed web offset press in 1968 for a more automated way of producing these tickets.
“To increase productivity and profits even more, Southland purchased and installed its first slitter rewinder in 1975. The following year, two web offset presses were installed to accommodate the customer base’s spitter ticket demand.”
SPC says that base now includes customers in all 50 states and in 46 foreign countries on six continents. Its products are used “by most every major private parking operator and public parking authority in the U.S. [and in] a large portion of the major airports in the U.S. and abroad.”
As it grew, the company says, “the need for additional personnel, advertising, parking conventions, sales travels, and building space skyrocketed. In-house machine and carpentry shops, and a research and development lab set Southland apart from the normal printing company.”
Southland Printing says that “while reflecting on past accomplishments, [the company] is poised to introduce a major leap in ticket technology. A multimillion-dollar expansion is underway to make room for this new adventure. Construction is moving forward on a new additional pressroom and bindery space, as specialized equipment will soon be delivered. Pressmen are in training for this new product, and the rollout is expected in the second quarter of 2010.”
On another front, Southland reports that “sales travels (including most major U.S. and Canadian cities; Mexico City; London; Amsterdam; Kuala Lumpur, Indonesia; and Sao Paulo, Brazil) made for exciting and fruitful ventures.
“Advertising (at parking conventions, in magazines, fliers, etc.) helped keep Southland’s name recognizable. But word of mouth continues to be its most prized sales element.”
Also, it notes, “establishing and maintaining a ‘20 Working Day Turnaround’ policy has delighted Southland’s direct and dealer customers far and wide through the years.”
The company makes clear, as it says, that “the management team at Southland, still led by Johnny and Angie Manno, never fails to recognize friends and business associates like V.A. Grimes (Allright Parking) and Dusty Rhoades (local machinist) as being integral partners in its success.
“Many faithful longtime employees have been and remain a reflection of the moral fiber of this company,” it states. “Southland has always considered its employees its biggest asset and notes [the company’s] extensive list of long-term employees. Several with more than 30 to 35 years of dedication have enjoyed job security knowing the company has never laid off even one employee,” the company says, adding:
“Southland family members are treated like Manno family members. The eight-member management team has a total of 210 years’ experience. John Manno Jr. and Jay Manno complete three generations of active upper management that strengthens the family tradition at Southland.”
“Whether it’s becoming personally involved in a customer’s needs, maintaining a family work environment, or keeping clean and attractive premises, Southland Printing’s continuous goal is to be No. 1. Southland thanks all of its faithful customers, vendors, and many other business associates for their contributions to its success.”
The company is actively involved in or sponsors various civic groups and organizations around the area. Some of these organizations include: Centenary College, Louisiana State University - Shreveport, Northwestern State University, Shreveport Symphony, Krewe of Gemini, The Strand Theatre and the North Shreveport Lions Club.
Other important dates in Southland’s 50-year history include:
1982 – First flexographic press installed.
1986 – First computer system installed featuring SPC specific customization.
1987 – First U.S. supplier of magnetic-striped parking tickets.
1994 – Unique barcode tickets introduced.
1998 – Enters mass transit/toll road business.
2010 – Fully upgrades computer system (new custom software).
SPC provided additional information in this, its 50th anniversary year:
The grounds where the Southland manufacturing complex is located encompass five city blocks and has long been recognized by city and state officials for being clean and meticulously maintained. Twelve buildings (some multilevel) contain 150,000 square feet of production, office and warehouse space.
Its location accentuates the North Gateway to Downtown Shreveport. Every year, Southland plants thousands of seasonal flowers to be enjoyed by the public as they drive by. Several awards acknowledge its effort in maintaining a beautiful contribution to the downtown area.
Southland’s Freedom Plaza, with its majestic fountain, constantly reminds people of the sacrifices our heroic fighting men and women have made to keep America’s people free. It is professionally decorated many times yearly for the public’s enjoyment in keeping with seasonal, holiday and patriotic themes.
Article Abstract from June, 2010