Vince Perricone opened Middleburg Printing in 1986 and started the New Year by announcing his retirement, but quietly, person to person. He’s one of those community-minded people, the ones always ready to pitch in, giving generously of their time, effort and energy out of the goodness of their hearts. He’s also a businessman and selling his life’s work wasn’t easy, but it was time and he knew it. Middleburg Printing will continue under new ownership, but Vince intends to stay very busy.
“I have lots to do — hang out more with Panda, my dog, I love to garden, I’m looking forward to spending time at Middleburg Humane Foundation’s new facility in Marshall, and Tom Sweitzer at A Place To Be has been asking me to get over there — their Holiday Recital on the first Friday in December is one of my favorite events of the year,” said Vince. “I’m hoping to spend time with my children and grandchildren scatter from Virginia to West Virginia to North Carolina. I’m looking forward to doing many things that I’ve been wanting to do, but I didn’t have the time. ”
About that first item on his retirement agenda: Vince is a dog-person, the way many in the Middleburg-Piedmont area are horse-people. For 10 years, his CEO (Canine Executive Officer) was Monk, a Labrador Retriever, who went to work every day with Vince at Middleburg Printing.
Vince had saddlebags made for Monk, and he carried the mail to and from the post office on their daily walks. “He knew where every biscuit in the world was: Post Office, Middleburg Bank, ABC store, and we’d do his grand tour — I didn’t take Monk, he took me,” said Vince.
Towards the end of his time, Monk was getting heavy and Vince set a limit – one biscuit per stop. He was a very smart CEO. “We were at the bank, Monk got his biscuit, and I was doing my transaction,” Vince recalled. “I turned and saw he’d walked to the next window and stood up with his paws on the counter to get another biscuit.”
After Monk passed, Panda and Charlie joined Vince, but they were stay-at-home dogs. Panda has been an only dog for about a year although it’s possible Vince will encounter a CEO specializing in retirement when he starts spending time at Middleburg Humane.
Harking back to the 1990s, Middleburg Printing made the transition into High Tech with relative ease. Computers were evolving so quickly that they became obsolete six months after manufacture. Publishing software was beginning to design everything under the printing sun and communicated with state-of-the-art inkjet printers.
Vince, who embraced the digital age, because the bottom line meant better service for his customers, said, “It was a piece of cake. You just had to learn how to understand and use the new technology. It was so much easier and faster and less expensive.”
Jim Herbert considers Vince a team partner, not just a service provider. Among the hats he wears professionally and personally, Jim is the event organizer for Christmas In Middleburg, the first Saturday in December.
“Vince would be a fantastic partner every single time trying to get the products done on time within a manageable budget and always delivered a quality product,” said Jim. “There were times when I pushed the envelope of what could be humanly and physically possible, and Vince still would take a rush job and deliver it on time. The various causes and community projects I’m involved in, Vince would embrace them with equal passion, as if they were his own – he’s just a great guy.”
A Place To Be, established in 2011, is where music meets therapy, thanks to Tom Sweitzer, whose resume includes 17 years as Head of the Theatre Department at The Hill School. “We would love Vince to be a part of the APTB family,” he said. “Vince has been printing for us for years. He could volunteer and spend time with the amazing people we have in our center. He offers wisdom, patience and love.”
Chris Johnson has been in charge of the annual auction for the Hill School for more than 20 years. She had nothing but praise for Vince and Middleburg Printing for handling everything, including design, for the Auction as well as handling all of The Hill School’s printing needs.
“This is our community printer and the personalized service you receive could never be found anywhere else,” said Chris. “Vince is wonderfully personable, has a great sense of humor, and I have enjoyed working with him on the Auction. When he first told me he was going to retire, I panicked. I couldn’t imagine doing the Hill School Auction printing without him, but being Vince, he reassured me that when it came time to print the catalog, he would return to help. And that is Vince. He epitomizes customer service. He is loyal to his customers, and in return we are loyal to him. I can’t tell you how many times I called Vince at the last minute, asking if he can print something. He always came through. We have had many laughs and the product he has produced for the Auction is first class. He will be sorely missed.”
What’s so nice about Vince is that he’s still looking after his customers. “It was important to me to find a buyer who would uphold my tradition, someone to continue the operation just like I did,” said Vince. “Albert Patterson is full of energy and so excited to be part of the town. He’s from Winchester and he came here with his whole family for Christmas in Middleburg. Francis and Ron will stay on — that was important to me. Hill School made me promise to come back in here and help with the Auction stuff. Customers don’t speak the same language as the printers, so over the years I learned to interpret for them.”
The final words belong to Punkin Lee, owner of Journeyman Saddlery, who has known Vince and used his Middleburg Printing services ever since he set up shop the next block over on Federal Street.
“You could count on great service, quality products, and Vince was always there to help,” said Punkin. “He’s pleasant and he does a great job with your product. Vince is always an asset to the community and to the business people. The new owner has big shoes to fill.”