In celebration of Steinhauser’s 115 year anniversary, we honor the four generations and their legacy, which has carried and grown this company through over 11 decades.
The principles of leading by example, loyalty, and treating everyone as family started with Albert Steinhauser in 1905. A. Steinhauser & Son started as a small garage commercial printer that focused primarily on government bonds. Eventually moving to a plant at 1519 Central Parkway in downtown Cincinnati, it grew into a larger offset and letterpress printing service.
Albert and his wife, Helen, had two children, Wilbur and Harold. While Wilbur was not interested in taking over the family business, Harold could not wait to begin the work. Unfortunately, in 1944, he was killed in the line of duty during WW2.
Following the death of his brother, Wilbur dove into the business. He took over leadership in 1945 and focused on growing the company through capability expansion, introducing technology that printed up to four colors on two sides, and included scoring, perforation, and glue application. Key markets Steinhauser worked with to grow the business included self-mailers for banks, department stores, and insurance companies. Wilbur was also notorious for his company newsletters and marketing campaigns.
Steinhauser’s mascot, Lillie the Elephant, was created by Wilbur in the 1960s, originally featured in an ad campaign entitled “About Elephants and Fine Printing.” Steinhauser chose an elephant to represent the printing business because an elephant “will rear to the 100th year. And she’ll weigh eight tons, near,” and much like an elephant, “Makes quite an impression, doesn’t she? When it comes to the best in printing and service at the most interesting prices, like Lillie, we top the scales.” She appeared several times throughout the following decade especially in proposals to the Cincinnati Zoo to print their zoo mailings. Lillie seldom made an appearance in the 80s, 90s, and 00s. She was brought back to life in 2015 during a rebranding phase and remains an integral part of the Steinhauser logo and culture today.
Did you know that even though Steinhauser is located in Newport, Kentucky, it is an Ohio Corporation?] Steinhauser has had many homes over the years, from starting in the garage of Founder Albert Steinhauser in Cincinnati in 1905, to a beautiful plant on 1519 Central Parkway in Downtown Cincinnati, and then to the Daylight Building on 926 Wareham Drive in Mt. Adams. In 1977, after the owner of the Daylight building needed more space for themselves, Steinhauser had to find a new location. After much shopping and attempted negotiations with the Cincinnati Chamber to stay in Ohio, Steinhauser ultimately decided to cross the river and purchase the former Walker Ford dealership building at 207 E. 4th Street in Newport, Kentucky. “This building came on the market, and it was a very good buy. . .We felt it would be a very good way for us to go. . .we decided to move to Kentucky.” The building was “. . .a former one-story automobile dealership building that has been handsomely remodeled to suit the needs of the printing industry.”
In 1982, Wilbur Steinhauser retired and moved to Florida, and Robert “Bobby” Steinhauser, as he was so lovingly known by everyone, moved from his Vice-President post to President and Owner of Steinhauser.
Tara Halpin, daughter of Bobby, and current 4th generation Owner of Steinhauser reflects on her first-hand experience working under Bobby’s leadership:
“As Dad took the baton from his dad, he became a beloved leader that employees, customers, and suppliers will never forget. He was always present. He took the time every single day to walk the floor of the shop with pride, talking to each person as the presses ran. He was highly respected as a boss and as a human. He understood that connection with his team and leading by example was a sign of great leadership. He was also a great businessman. He taught me to always surround myself with people that are smarter than me. Building a team with people with the same moral compass, but not always the same views was a way to win in the business world.
Whenever we talk about Dad with others, some of the words spoken about him are: “he was the best,” “he was tough but always kind,” “I loved him,” “I miss him,” “what a great man,” and “he was one of a kind.” How great would it be to be remembered like that? He touched so many lives and we are very blessed that he was in our world, we can all take some plays out of his book.”
In 2005, after leading the company for 23 years, and raising a family of five with his wife Polly, Bobby Steinhauser transitioned his leadership role and title of President to his only daughter, Tara Steinhauser Halpin. Tara and her brothers Tyler and Trevor had been working at Steinhauser in every capacity imaginable since they were kids. Tara was honored to be stepping into her legacy of leadership as the fourth-generation president. Sadly, just one week after her new role was announced, Bobby was diagnosed with a terminal illness. In the summer of 2006, the Steinhauser children lost their beloved father, and within a year, Tara, and her younger brother Trevor, were owners and leaders of the company. Tara as President, Trevor as Vice President. Tyler had moved on to other opportunities During the period of the siblings’ leadership, the company made many incredible transformations. Tara and Trevor devised a new business model, in which they strategically planned to shift their focus from commercial printing to label printing, due to extreme market decline, and amplify their new flexographic capabilities. They began this strategy in 2006, and by 2009, had sold the commercial printing business, and were down to just one strong and large customer, Kao USA (Jergens, John Frieda, and Curel) who had been with them for over five decades, and believed in Steinhauser’s ability to rise. From 2007 to 2015, Tara and Trevor led the company, essentially starting over, and growing from 1 customer in 2009 to over 100 by 2015. It was a remarkable run for the brother and sister duo.
In 2015, Tara started a new chapter as the leader of Steinhauser. After three years of steady success, In 2018, Tara not only purchased the company, she made the decision as the new owner to invest in major growth. In 2018, she ordered a state of the art 12-color plus 2 screen station, fully automated MPS flexographic press from Holland. The press was not installed until early 2019 after it was completely built. Tara christened the press, “Bobby” after her beloved father. While Bobby was being built, Tara was busy building her own growth plan from within the plant walls. She invested heavily in her people, hiring an executive team to add support and strategy in areas of the company that needed strong additional leadership. The entire team, under the new executive leadership, continue to grow in skill, size, and efficiency. 2019 was not an easy year – it was a year of preparation and growth planning – a year of building momentum. However, the planning, strategy, and hard work paid off. In 2020, Steinhauser has reached new strides, above and beyond everyone’s wildest dreams – even during the difficult times of the pandemic. Under Tara’s leadership and Steinhauser’s values, the company has broken records in monthly revenue, annual revenue (exceeded the largest year in company history by August!), and profit. To date, Steinhauser is targeted to exceed 2019 by a whopping 54%. As we come together to celebrate 115 years, we can hear the voices of the generations before us celebrating, and cheering us on. Because of the seeds they planted over the past 115 years, Steinhauser is the success it is today.