By Dominik Stallings
Greg Hastings retired from the printing industry in late September after working in Tuscola for 49 years.
He started his printing career when he went to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale for a year to take printing classes. He learned the letterpress process, where you press a raised inked surface to paper. It’s similar to using a stamp. He also learned how to perform offset printing, a more complicated technique that involves putting ink onto rollers and plates before being transferred to paper.
Hastings didn’t spend much time in school to learn the processes. He said it wasn’t too difficult to learn everything he needed.
After his year at SIU he started working for his parents at the Tuscola Review in 1973. There, he did all of the general job printing while the paper itself was printed at another location.
Hastings said that working at a small town paper meant he had to be able to perform any type of work necessary. He developed film and made prints, shot photography, created advertisement layouts and ad sales. He also helped out by writing sports stories from time to time. He admitted that writing isn’t his forte.
While he got his start at SIU, Hastings still learned a lot during his career and figured out a lot of things through trial and error. He worked together with his parents until they sold the paper in 2004. Hastings worked on his own since then.
“The rest of the family are pretty good writers, but that didn’t pass on to me,” said Hastings.
One of Hastings’ favorite aspects of his job was connecting to the people in the community. His job allowed him to get involved with the high school football team and helping them out. He recorded statistics for the football games and got them published in the paper. Hastings travelled with the team to each match possible.
Tuscola football coach Andy Romine said Hastings keeps track of all offensive and defensive stats for Tuscola and even the offensive stats for the guest team.
“Its unbelievable. The stats are done during the game, and that can end up being a large headache. Thanks to those two guys, Greg and Steve (Hilgendorf) .It never crosses my mind. They just take care of it. And they’ve done it for so long, so they must enjoy it. Fortunately, they’ve been able to do some big games over the years and that makes it good as well.” said Romine
Hastings said his favorite memory during his career was being on the field when the team won state. He’s been at several state games and championships over the years.
Hastings left lasting impressions in Tuscola while he worked as a printer. He’s worked with many local business owners over the years in Tuscola.
“We used Greg ever since we opened. He’s done printing for us– mostly labels for our candy.” said Devon Flesor, Owner of Flesor’s Candy Kitchen.
“He was someone in the community we could partner with and we didn’t have to go out of town for our printing needs. He’s also been a good customer. It’s that sort of a reciprocal relationship. That’s what small communities do,” said Flesor.
He’s supported plenty of businesses and adapted to whatever their needs are.
“He’s like the Clark Kent of printers,” said Dr. Sally Foote, owner of Foote and Friends.
“You give him a job, even with short notice, and he gets it done very well. He sends back not only a proof, but he runs over to the office to show the work and see what you think.”
Hastings sold his space, Hastings Printing, along with materials and equipment to Greg Hoskins, owner of Better Newspaper Inc. The Journal also belongs to Better Newspaper Inc.
Clients who previously went through Greg will be able to get their job printing done through the Journal.
According to David Porter, regional managing editor for the company,, the office for the Journal will relocate into Hastings’ old space with a revamped printing shop also in the building.
“We are combining resources from several of our printing shops into the Tuscola office,” Porter said.
“Greg leaves a very high bar for us to reach toward,” Porter continued. “His attention to detail is unsurpassed. We will strive to provide that same high quality.”