In the beginning, J-C Press was much different than what you see today. It was a newspaper. Hiram M. Sheetz and his wife M.M. Sheetz published the first edition of the Owatonna Journal in April of 1859. Four short months later, Mr. Sheetz fell victim to typhoid fever and Mrs. Sheetz continued to operate the paper after his death. Meanwhile, Egbert Kilbourne (E.K.) Whiting had started the Owatonna Chronicle newspaper in 1897. In 1906 Whiting acquired the Owatonna Journal forming the Journal-Chronicle Company. The newspaper was recognized as the Best Weekly Newspaper in America by the National Editorial Association in 1929.
Mr. Whiting sold the Journal-Chronicle newspaper operations to the competing Peoples Press in 1938 to focus exclusively on commercial printing and stationery supplies. After Mr. Whiting’s death, the business was run by his two sons James and William from 1940 until 1983. In 1984, E.K Whiting’s granddaughter Sabra Otteson became sole owner of J-C Press, making the business one of the first certified woman owned enterprises in the state of Minnesota. Through Mrs. Otteson’s leadership, the business grew its annual revenue from less than $500,000 to over $9,000,000 each year. In 2003, J-C press moved to its current location, a 57,000 square foot facility on the West side of Owatonna.
In 2012, Patrick McDermott became Chief Operating Officer, bringing more than 15 years progressive sales and manufacturing operations leadership experience; directing strategic process improvement and project management for diverse global organizations. On January 1st, 2015, Otteson sold the business to McDermott. According to Otteson, she wanted to keep the business local and continue the 155-year legacy that the company has achieved. Otteson said, “As I look back on the 30 years of ownership of Journal-Chronicle, I am grateful for our customers, our employees and for the Owatonna community. The Whiting family has been in business in Owatonna since the 1800’s; now it is time to pass the baton on to Owatonna native Patrick McDermott.” Currently, J-C Press employs 50 people and serves over 400 clients across the United States.