October 14, 2019
GBS’ FOUNDER PAVED THE WAY FOR OUR COMPANY’S FUTURE, THANKS TO HIS PROFOUND DETERMINATION, FORESIGHT, LEADERSHIP AND GENEROSITY
Larry Merriman, an adventurous man, exemplified unwavering determination to provide the lifestyle he envisioned for his family of five by starting his own company, Graphic Business Systems (GBS), in 1971. He did this by using his knowledge and passion of the forms industry, and the help of a few former business associates who trusted, respected and believed in his vision and leadership abilities. Not only did he far exceed his original goal, his family grew by approximately 400 extended GBS family members.
Grand legacies often have small beginnings and Mr. Merriman’s story is no different. The company office was comprised of his kitchen table and his home phone. One can only assume his wife, Pat, did not want to add printing equipment as part of their home décor or have parked cars in the driveway. Fortunately, Mr. Merriman had the foresight to partner with other suppliers, creating a way to provide products, services and solutions to customers quickly without the need to invest in the equipment. Over the years, this foresight significantly contributed to our prosperity—ultimately helping to grow GBS to three successful business units, eight locations and numerous diversified acquisitions.
A good leader is someone who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. Mr. and Mrs. Merriman’s philanthropic nature and charitable donations are to be admired and commended. They motivated us to be involved and to donate to charities of our choice. Through his exceptional leadership and generosity, Mr. Merriman supported his employees—from our hiring to our retiring.
The GBS ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Program), which began in 1987, is another wonderful example of how Mr. Merriman cared for his employees and their futures. He literally positioned us for success by structuring our company to potentially ensure that GBS employees and their families would benefit to the fullest extent.
We are fortunate that Mr. Merriman shared his many gifts with all of us, and thankful that he left an enduring legacy and the tools to continue to build upon the solid foundation that he established 48 years ago. What was once a vision became his reality, as well as the means to a successful and secure future for many employees. And the GBS family will continue to benefit from Mr. Merriman’s leadership, ingenuity and guiding spirit. When asked if GBS can fill a need, our answer will always be an astounding “Yes,” because our Founder instilled in us that with hard work and determination, our capabilities are endless! He also taught us that we all bring value to the GBS family table, and in doing so, we continue to honor Mr. Merriman and show our appreciation. Through his life he has made others’ lives better.
October 22, 1928 – May 12, 2019