Lake Forest’s PostNet hits 20-year mark
Dave Kahn, owner and president of PostNet in Lake Forest, closes a box for shipping at the shipping, copy and design center which he opened in 1992. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Specialty: “Neighborhood Business Center” offers high-quality, affordable printing, copying and shipping services
Location: 825 South Waukegan Road A8, Lake Forest
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday; closed Sunday
Contact: (847) 234-9422; www.postnet.com/lake-forest-il106
Updated: March 12, 2013 11:34AM
LAKE FOREST — Dave Kahn opened PostNet in Lake Forest in 1992 with the intention of making friends.
“If you make friends, then the business will follow,” he said.
Twenty years later, Kahn still operates by that philosophy. His son Jerry, who started working with his dad at the age of 14, feels much the same.
“I actually quit school for law enforcement to come back to work here full-time,” Jerry, now 34 and the store’s general manager, said. “I missed the retail part of it. I missed the customers we work with, as corny as it sounds.”
Dave Kahn wasn’t always the local go-to guy for shipping and printing. A scientist with a master’s degree in biochemistry, Kahn worked in the atherosclerosis research lab at Northwestern University. He left the lab hoping to increase his wages for his family.
For seven years, Kahn operated a currency exchange in what he called a rough area in Chicago, where he also made friends.
“If you treat people right, they’ll treat you right,” is the philosophy Kahn said he learned.
Admittedly, that approach probably prompted Kahn to leave the currency exchange business for good.
“I felt like I was ripping people off,” he said. Like all currency exchanges, Kahn charged clients for cashing their check.
“If someone had a $400 welfare check, I got $6,” he said. “It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is a lot when people are essentially living from check to check.”
Turning his sights toward a new business idea, Kahn found PostNet and the Lake Forest location. He hasn’t looked back since.
Today, his PostNet in west Lake Forest holds a unique distinction within the company.
“My store is the oldest under-continuous-ownership franchise,” Dave Kahn, owner and president, said.
Location has played a key role in his store’s success.
“Everything we do now is home-office oriented,” he said, which has meshed well with the increase in local customers who work from home.
When it opened in 1992, the PostNet Lake Forest location had one used copy machine. Today, the store’s equipment includes two high-end copy machines, a wide-format printer and a wide-format laminator. Two graphic designers and two customer service representatives work with the Kahns to complete the variety of services offered.
Through it all, Dave Kahn said he has kept the same motto — “Give me a chance and I’ll find a way to get it done” — and the same customer approach.
“I think a lot of my success is due to my off-the-wall humor. I try to have a joke or something funny to say with every customer,” he said. “Sometimes customers are cranky, but I still smile. That’s just the way Jerry and I have approached the business from day one.”