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2 longtime printing firms merge
Steve and Donna Free proof a new project with Joe Biddy, right, Monday at Georgia Printing on Oak Street. Premier Printing, owned by the Frees, will merge with Biddy’s Georgia Printing under the new name Premier Georgia Printing.

A Hall County printing firm with a 60 year history and another printer that started two decades ago in the owner’s garage have announced their merger.

Georgia Printing Co. and Premier Printing are now Premier Georgia Printing. The two are operating at their separate locations in Gainesville and Oakwood, but will soon move to a single location.

Georgia Printing on Oak Street had been owned for 29 years by businessman Joe Biddy.

The firm was founded in 1949 by James Waldrip and W.O. Sexton. Don Waldrip acquired the firm from his father in 1979 and sold it to Biddy a year later.

Premier Printing began 20 years ago in the garage of owners Steve and Donna Free. In 1995, they moved to their current location on Old Flowery Branch Road. Premier’s specialty is flexographic label printing. The company produces product labels for a number of clients in the poultry industry.

"We have been friendly competitors for years," said Biddy.

"Now, the pot of business is shrinking and we thought that through consolidation, we could have all of our business under one roof and have some economies of scale and our customers and employees would benefit."

Biddy said Georgia Printing has larger format offset printing, while Premier has small format color printing, in addition to the ability to produce labels.

Donna Free learned her printing skills as a graphic arts student at Johnson High School.

"We got into flexographic labels in 1992," said Donna Free.

The two firms will eventually move to a single 24,000-square-foot facility on Chestnut Street near Featherbone Communiversity.

The merged companies believe their combined 80 years of experience will allow them to better serve the needs of their customers in a highly competitive environment.