Founded 100 years ago by a young woman who wanted to help her father sell his hay crop, JLS has become one of the nation’s leading, innovative mail services companies.
BROCKTON, MA — In the fall of 2018, JLS Mailing Services, New England’s premier presort, mail and print company, will celebrate the 100th year of its founding.
Time for a Centennial celebration for sure, but it’s intriguing to look back through its history to gain perspective on how JLS has remained true to its roots over those ten decades.
JLS was founded by a young woman, Elizabeth Joyce Braddock who wanted to help her father, a landowner and farmer, sell his crop of hay. She did this by using the mail, which was a unique thought in 1918. Her namesake company began as the Joyce Letter Shop, which in more modern times was abbreviated to “JLS”.
Having a natural entrepreneurial spirit, Ms. Braddock quickly expanded her business, providing secretarial services including bill typing, folding and mailing to Boston area banks and investment houses. Early on the company gained a reputation for maintaining a very high standard of work quality and an unwavering dedication to detail.
Ms. Braddock, “Joyce”, is known to have attended a mail industry conference held in Chicago and appears to have been the only woman business owner registered to the event. What she learned there gave her the needed encouragement to press forward.
As the demand for direct mail increased through the 1930’s, Ms. Braddock added addressing and inserting services to her organizations repertoire which helped her weather the economic storm of the depression thereby becoming a positive example of a proper lettershop founded and run by a woman.
In later years, Joyce handed over day-to-day operations to Josephine Fondeicaro, her second in command, who ran the company successfully through the early 80’s, Joyce Braddock sadly passed on in 1970. JLS’s current President, Jim Clark, purchased the company from the Joyce family in 1983.
Through several periods of industry upheaval, with short periods of relative calm since, Jim has steadily built upon the Joyce legacy by investing in technology, assembling a professional staff, and leading his company to its emergence as the largest and most respected presort, mail and printing company in the Northeast.
JLS today serves A-list clients nationally, providing mailing services, digital printing and custom fulfillment work. As reminders of more humble beginnings, Jim keeps an assortment of antique machines from the printing and mailing trades from decades past just outside his office.
Perhaps he does this as a reminder of how far the industry has evolved in the past 100 years or perhaps also to serve as a message to never stop evolving.
Today, JLS, just months shy of its 100th birthday, is more than ever an extension of what Ms. Braddock envisioned. JLS still stands for high quality work: the company earned the coveted MPTQM (Mail Preparation Total Quality Management) designation from the U.S. Postal Service in 2004, one of only seventeen companies to do so.
More recently JLS became SOC 2 (Services Operations Controls) Certified signifying trust in providing verifiable control over client data. This is an industry essential when printing and mailing hundreds of thousands of variable data mail pieces in the form of invoices, confirmations, and statements for financial services, insurance and health care clients every week.
Two years ago, JLS flipped the switch on its own roof-mounted 536MW photovoltaic solar array that eliminated 100% of the company’s annual electric bills. The company then followed that sweeping success by converting its 100,000 square foot plant in Brockton, MA, to all LED lighting.
Joyce is likely looking down smiling, noting that JLS still maintains a hard-earned reputation for quality, thrift, excellent customer service, concern for the environment – and is still always looking for ways to move forward.
One example beyond the deployment of the company’s primary solar array, is a phase-two solar system expansion that would bring in a constant flow of thousands of dollars in annual revenue from selling power back to the local electric grid operator.
Jim admits today that he was in survival mode for many of his early years, focusing on trying to be true to its founder’s roots: being the best at its chosen craft and offering customers flexible solutions. But he never imagined that JLS would emerge as one of the nation’s leading, innovative mail services companies. He credits having great employees and great customers for achieving great success, always recognizing that success is a team effort.
What would Joyce say about what JLS has become today?
“She would be amazed at how mail is still such an important communications medium, she’d be surprised at the advances in digital printing and she’d be taken with the development of the internet and what that has done for communications overall,” Clark said.
“We’ll be celebrating our Centennial with a Gala, inviting dignitaries from our area as well as officials from the United States Postal Service, but perhaps most importantly, we’ll be celebrating with our great customers and our great employees. After all, they are the ones who have made it all happen!”
The JLS Mailing Services of today is shown in pictures: 1) JLS Presort Services; 2) JLS Inserting Services; 3) JLS Data Processing and Printing Services; 4) JLS Presort Services; 5) JLS Warehousing Services.
— From the May/June 2018 edition of MAIL: The Journal of Communication Distribution
For more information on JLS Mailing Services, click here.
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