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Editor’s Note: This history was written by the late Bill DesJarlais, founder of Gateway Group, and has been reproduced with some updated material provided by Matt DesJarlais, President of Gateway.

As a young man I had been involved in sales almost exclusively. At the time I founded Gateway I was representing a large American publishing firm as their Canadian Manager.

It can be said of almost any product that there is always someone who can make it better or for less money or who can add features that make the product more attractive and saleable.

Over the years I had become familiar with the basics of community fundraising publishing and I felt sure that with some planning and hard work, methods could be established that could produce better fund-raising books and make it possible for community clubs, groups and organizations to publish their own books in a better form than was available at that time.

After a period of planning and experimenting I sold the first cook book fund-raising project in Rivers, Manitoba in June of 1965 and we have never looked back.

Like most new businesses, we searched for an appropriate name for our company and decided to take the name of the street where we lived Gateway Road.

The first Gateway office was in our basement. Our books were printed by a partner who operated a small print shop in his garage.

As the business grew, we found larger quarters the following year on Nairn Avenue in Winnipeg and then moved again to larger rented premises on Watt Street in 1967. After three years, in 1969, my partner believed the market for fund-raising cookbooks and other projects was reaching a saturation point and he sold his share of the business to me. Shortly after becoming the sole owner of Gateway Publishing we moved once more to roomier premises on Keenleyside Street in 1971, where we remained until we had to expand again.

In 1974 we moved once again, but this time we bought a former bank building on Main Street where we felt sure our future space needs could all be met. And they were - until 1977. In that year we purchased the property where Gateway Publishing was located at 811 Pandora Avenue and erected the first of our own buildings.

At this time we were binding our books with comb bindings. The one we particularly liked was a continuous plastic coil binding but this was not available to us at that time. In May 1979 the owner of this bindery decided to retire, so we purchased the bindery and the plastic coil process.

Taking the basic coil forming equipment and the plastic formulas originally used, this exciting plastic binding process has evolved into PLASTIKOIL: an internationally recognized binding system that is becoming one of the more popular bindings for books and printed products.

From the improvement of the plastic formulation and the addition of many new colors of bindings to the line, Plastikoil was quickly introduced to the exclusive dealers in ten major Canadian cities and then into almost every major city in the United States.

It has been gratifying to see some of the largest and most respected book publishers in Canada and the USA adopt Plastikoil as one of the bindings that they offer their customers. The plastic wire and the unique coil formulation of these various size coils are still exclusively produced in our Winnipeg plant to a quickly growing demand.

In 1980 we opened a sales office in Minneapolis to handle our book publishing and Plastikoil business. This office was later moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota to serve the many customers in America who use Plastikoil and who regularly choose Gateway Fundraising books to raise monies for their organizations through the most diversified collection of fund-raising books and projects offered by any North American publisher. Gateway has since closed its sales offices in North Dakota, as changes in technology have allowed us to operate our US operations from our Canadian office.

In 1987, the Plastikoil Division of Gateway outgrew the space available to it at 811 Pandora Avenue and moved to leased premises in the St. Boniface Industrial Park. Plastikoil officially changed its name to Gateway Bookbinding Systems Ltd., a sister company to Gateway Publishing Co. Ltd. From 4000 square feet of leased space on 115/117 DeBaets, we moved to 8500 square feet at 214 DeBaets. We purchased a 15,000 square foot building at 11 Durand Road, which was expanded to over 20,000 square feet in 1999 to accommodate Gateway’s research and development and manufacturing activities.

The years since Gateway began have been busy, never dull and there have been some times when problems seemed to outnumber the good things. Throughout these years of expansion and growth into new products and larger premises we have made it a point to instill in our "family" of valued employees the understanding that most business problems are handled or avoided by honesty and good service. I firmly believe that any success we have gained at Gateway is the result of the application of this policy in all our dealings with customers and suppliers.

We are proud that most of our customers come to us as strangers and come back time after time to do business with us as friends.

William G. DesJarlais

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