Mostad Publications Ltd started in the mid-60’s with the SURREY SHOPPER. There was no office back then, and like many other printing companies it was run from the basement of the founder – Fred Mostad. At the time, the SHOPPER concept was a unique one; it was an ad-based publication that sold space to small and medium sized local businesses and the extra space was filled with free classified ads for people to sell their unwanted items (like craigslist or Facebook Marketplace today).
The Shoppers were printed at Horizon Press in North Vancouver, then later at Web Press in Lake City on Web Leader press Units. In 1973, Fred and Graham Mostad (Father and Son) with two other businessmen bought a building on Bentley Road in Surrey, BC as well as 4 Web Leader press units and started Surrey Centre Publishing Ltd. – mainly to print the Shoppers. The partnership only lasted about 2 years, then Fred and Graham bought out the other 2 partners.
1973 to 1978
Graham did all of the typesetting – he had his own shop prior to 1973 doing paste-ups and graphics for the Shoppers mainly, but also for other outside clients. After the start-up of Surrey Centre, he moved the operation into the printing shop.
The Shoppers were one of the very first advertising flyers produced – there were no distribution systems in place at that time, i.e. no insertions into community newspapers. There really were no flyers to speak of back then either. The Shoppers were distributed through the Post Office – Mostad has permit #2 at the Surrey Main Post Office for unaddressed admail.
There wasn’t much competition for ad space in the early years but this all changed with the growth of community newspapers in the area and the need to augment their income with advertising.
Up until 1978, when both Graham and Fred passed away, the main job at Surrey Centre Publishing was the Shoppers – there were a few other editions added, i.e. the Super Shopper, and a few others such as the North Delta Shopper, the Langley Shopper, etc. Mostad even trademarked the “Surrey Shopper” name.
1978 to 1984
1978 – 1984 was when Mostad saw the possibilities of retail flyer accounts, which filled in our schedule around the Shoppers. We changed the company name to Mostad Publications (1980) Ltd. This was a time of significant change as we developed, or were successful in bidding on flyer accounts, and the business started to grow. It was also during this time that Harriet Green (then Illes) started assuming a management role in the company.
Harriet started out as a salesperson for the Shoppers and it soon became evident that her drive, work-ethic and leadership abilities would serve as an asset to the company. As a result, she and Merle Mostad (Graham Mostad’s widow) formed a partnership that would stand the test of time with Harriet serving as the COO and driving force of Mostad.
1990 to 2010
Around 1990, to raise investment capital, Mostad sold a portion of the shares to Lower Mainland Publishing group. Throughout the years, this shareholder morphed into Hollinger International.
One year later, in 1991 we moved into our current address at 13447-77th Ave in Surrey BC. The Shoppers by this time were just a bi-weekly print run, which took a lot of work in terms of set-up, administration and required a significant employee load.. By 1995 we figured it didn’t make sense to continue producing the Shoppers, so we decided to shut them down and focus on the commercial flyer business.
Through the 1990’s and the following decade, Mostad continued to grow and expand with the purchase of more equipment and the switch from cold-set printing to heat-set. (This included a state-of-the-art pollution control system – this was an unusual move for the time but always part of Mostad’s strong commitment to the environment.) The Heat-set process greatly improved the quality difference of the finished product and enabled Mostad to further satisfy its current customers as well as grow its customer base considerably.
Sometime in 2003, Troy Illes – Harriet’s son returned to Mostad. His history at Mostad, and in various other experiences in the printing industry such as at Heidelberg Canada enabled him to take on expanding roles and responsibilities over the following years while eventually obtaining his business degree attending school online.
Towards the end of this epoch, Mostad negotiated to repurchase the outstanding shares, then held by Hollinger International – with the result being that Merle Mostad (now Cobbe) and Harriet Illes (Green) returning to 50/50 shareholders of the company.
2010 to 2020
2010 marked a significant event in the history of Mostad. Merle and Harriet had come to the conclusion that it was time for them to retire and there could be no better person to take the reins than Troy Illes (Harriet’s Son). Merle and Harriet transitioned out of the company over the next couple of years., 11 years later, Troy was able to pay them for their shares.
Troy always worked to better Mostad. He was responsible for the adoption of new technologies that greatly increased the performance and quality of Mostad’s prepress and printing processes. This included CTP (computer to plate), Prepress workflow systems, press infeeds, inline trimming, plow folders, automatic ink levelling systems, etc.
On the production management side of things, Mostad installed, configured and customized a comprehensive Print Management Information System (MIS) that integrated estimating, shop floor data capture, inventory, production scheduling, docket creation, invoicing, and CRM. This was/is unheard of for a company the size of Mostad and was/has been instrumental in both the efficiency and overall profitability of the company.
2020 to Present
As we are all acutely aware, 2020 proved to be a significant year in world history with the global pandemic of Covid 19 – and it proved to be a significant one for Mostad as well. Mostad’s key market over the decades has been the local/regional retail business and those businesses were decimated by restrictions and the fear associated with the pandemic. Mostad therefore suffered as well. The drastic decline in business (almost overnight) forced us to slash costs wherever possible, including staffing levels. Were it not for the fact that the ownership at Mostad diligently paid off the real-estate, there can be no doubt that it wouldn’t have made it. We’re extremely proud to be able to continue to carry on the Mostad legacy and take care of our longstanding customers (and hopefully some new ones).