ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Ecstatic local business owners are prepping for a St. Louis Blues hockey season, now that the National Hockey League has ended the player lockout.
"It's kind of funny, but I miss the big 'Waaaa', the bell you know,” said Jeff Williams. “It gets everybody's juices going. Then you know the season's going, and we're ready to go."
Williams is a starved Blues fan and president of Zane Williams, Inc. For years, the FOX Sports Midwest network has trusted the West St. Louis company with printing outdoor banners bearing in-your-face pics of your favorite Blues players.
"It's always fun,” Williams said. “We always get a great kick out of it."
Income from other clients has insulated Zane Printing from a revenue drought that hit other local businesses during the lockout. Still, Williams said the call from FOX Sports Midwest came just in time.
"In January, we get kind of slow,” Williams said. “But, this is a nice order; makes every [employee] comfortable. They know they are going to be working, possibly through the weekend, just to get things up and going."
Williams only trusts the Fox Sports Midwest account to a huge Hewlitt-Packard printer. It towers over tall men and is as wide as a single-car garage. But, the HP Scietex Turbo looks exactly like an average desktop printer.
"It basically is the same technology,” Williams explained. “They just made everything larger instead of smaller.”
The printer spit out the banners on heavy-duty vinyl just like they were on letter-sized paper.
"The type of equipment we have is what I believe to be one of the fastest presses in the world,” Williams stacked the banners. “It gives a nice, good, gloss finish. [Clients] like the quality. The things that are working, we don't change them."
Williams was a happy businessman. But, he said he is a Blues fan first.
"I've been having withdrawal symptoms,” he laughed nervously. “So, I couldn't be happier to have them back on the ice."
Zane Williams is a half-century old, locally owned, family business. Employees, who are also fans, waited eagerly for the NHL to announce the date for a season-opener. Until then, they worked to get the banners shipped within the next few days.