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Small Orders Mean Big Business

Replenish—that’s a word Chip Tompkins ’73 uses on the website of his printing business, We Think In Ink. It refers to an initiative he started a couple of years ago to plant a tree for every one used to fulfill a print job. In fact in 2012, he purchased 20,000 trees from the Virginia Department of Forestry and donated them to the Virginia 4-H club to help restore Virginia’s watersheds. Eventually, he’d like to make his business carbon neutral.

It also describes how he approached the downturn in his business during the Great Recession. When the printing orders dried up as his bigger clients cut back on spending, Chip had to replenish his client base. He focused on smaller businesses and built relationships that helped his company thrive in Ashland, Virginia.

His successful approach caught the eye of MSNBC, and he’s the subject of a profile— Entrepreneur of the Week—on the network’s Sunday program “Your Business.” You can watch the segment online.

If you know any W&L alumni who would be great profile subjects, tell us about them! Nominate them for a web profile.