By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian
After reaching 25 years in business, Presort Plus Inc. intends to continue growing.
Owner Mike Ragen said Presort Plus has focused on providing a good product and good customer service since April 1987, when his father, the late Jerry Ragen, started the Fairmont business.
Jerry, born and raised in Michigan and a graduate of Purdue University, worked in Indianapolis, Ind., and Philadelphia, Pa., before moving to Fairmont with his family in 1981. Six years later, he established Presort Plus at 1000 Morgantown Ave., which remains the store’s home today.
“Just working for other people, he just decided to get in the business for himself,” Mike said of his dad. “This is what he chose.”
After graduating from high school, Mike attended West Virginia University for a few years, where he studied engineering, and helped out part time at his dad’s shop throughout his college years. He eventually began working full time at Presort Plus and became the manager about 15 years ago.
Jerry then worked with his son to transition him to the position of owner. Mike officially took over as owner about a year ago, but Jerry stuck around the business and stayed active. Jerry, who had been battling cancer, passed away June 28 of this year at the age of 73.
“He was very proud of what he had accomplished,” Mike said of his father.
Presort Plus offers complete first class and bulk mailing services. The company handles an average of 20,000 pieces of first class mail daily from businesses. The store can save businesses money on postage and save them time, Mike said.
For some smaller offices, Presort Plus picks up their mail and also does their postage, which is convenient for the businesses, he said. The store can provide these services to customers with large volumes of mail for cheaper than if they did the work themselves.
Six employees are on the road every day picking up mail from as far away as Elkins. Presort Plus has customers in Marion, Monongalia and Harrison counties and also goes through Grafton, Philippi, Belington, Elkins, Buckhannon, Weston and Lost Creek, Mike said.
“The majority of our mailing ... is for the business, but we also do it for the average person if they want to walk in off the street,” he said. “If they want to save some money, we try to save them some money.”
Mike remembers sorting all the mail by hand when Presort Plus first started. Then in 1991, the business went to an automated machine. The company takes mail to the Eastpointe Post Office in Clarksburg every evening.
Presort Plus also does signs, banners, T-shirts and more at its print shop, located in a building across the street, Mike said. This location was established for printing and shipping services in 1994, after the business ran out of space and needed to expand. UPS and FedEx services are offered for shipping.
These print offerings are not just available for businesses, he said. The store can make banners and other items for birthdays, graduations and various special occasions for everyday people.
“We do a little bit of everything,” Mike said.
Presort Plus has around 20 employees, both part-time and full-time, including workers who have been with the company since the beginning, he said. It also has some longtime customers who keep coming back.
“It’s enjoyable to see your hard work actually do something, a business that you’re proud of,” Mike said.
Seeing the business going strong in this economy is also rewarding, Mike said.
Presort Plus’ print shop is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the hours for the rest of the business are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 304-363-1194.
Email Jessica Borders at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.