The story of Liberty Press actually begins in Hungary in 1955 when Frank Benedek, of Liberty Press, was born. The country of Hungary suffered greatly both during World War II and afterward when it came under the control of the Communist Soviet Union. Because of the horrible oppression, Frank’s father, among many other Hungarians at the time, decided to flee from their homeland in 1956 to the freedom of bordering European countries. Along with his young wife and their infant, they attempted to cross the guarded border. Twice they were caught; once it resulted in imprisonment for the senior Benedek. Their third effort was successful, but only after baby Frank was given sleeping medication to keep him from crying and alerting the enemy AND Frank’s mother fell into a pit covered with sticks and leaves, breaking her leg. So, Frank’s father carried him in one arm and braced his mother with his other arm as they crossed over to Austria. Next, they lived in Italy for 5 years before immigrating to the United States. How ironic that this family’s struggle for freedom ultimately resulted in a printing business called “Liberty” Press!
Frank Benedek and his wife Nancy started their printing business as “Impressive Impressions” in 1984 from their home in Loch Sheldrake. They ran it for 10 years as their children grew up. Their kids often helped out: their daughter collated and stapled, their son learned how to run a press.
When Liberty Press (LP), located in Liberty, NY, went up for sale in 1995, the Benedeks saw it as a business opportunity. They wanted to buy LP and merge it with Impressive Impressions. To do so meant they needed to secure the funds to not only purchase the print shop but also the building that housed it. The result was 3 mortgages! Because printing was quite profitable at that time, they were able to manage the huge financial responsibility while maintaining a comfortable working capital to keep the enterprise going.
The logistics of the merger took some time for everything to coalesce. When they first bought LP, it was not computerized; the acquired presses included an outdated linotype machine and a Compugraphic. As LP expanded, new equipment was purchased. Richard Phillips, a pressman with the former LP establishment who often set type by hand, stayed with the Benedeks for 11 years before retiring.
Frank, an accomplished pressman for 40 years, is the president and mastermind of LP. He operates the 4 presses. As vice president, Nancy Benedek wears many hats including: office manager, bookkeeper/payroll, human resources, customer service, bindery and cleaning services! In 1996, Jon Heaphy came on board as a graphic artist extraordinaire. He is also LP’s email correspondent. These 3 hardworking, talented, warm-hearted individuals are Liberty Press.
Being in the printing business for over 30 years has been a challenge since the industry as a whole has been in decline in this age of computers and internet. Nevertheless, LP has been able to survive in the microcosm of Sullivan County by being small enough to meet the needs of the towns, fire companies, school districts, restaurants and other business organizations that LP serves. Many have come to depend on LP to keep their businesses well supplied. Not surprisingly, LP does not do any advertising and is not on Facebook. ( But they are in the good ole phonebook!) Their stellar reputation for top quality work, gracious customer service and fair pricing is widely known.