Aces of Trades: Zanesville entrepreneur Dean Cole's passion is helping others

·4 min read

ZANESVILLE – He was an aspiring baseball player, who became an Army officer, who became an entrepreneur extraordinaire.

“I dreamed of becoming a major league baseball player,” confirmed Dean Cole. “I was a huge Cincinnati Reds fan. I thought I would be in business, but I didn’t give any thought regarding a specific type of business.”

“I’m also,” he added, “a veteran serving as an officer in the US Army in the Vietnam era. I was inducted into the Muskingum County Veterans Hall of Fame in 2020.”

He’s also involved in a number of businesses. He owns, for instance, Tom’s Print Shop.

“We’re the owners of Tom’s,” he said, “but my business involvement goes much broader. My wife and I owned Social Supper in Dresden which decorated glass and ceramics. We would have artwork positives made by Tom’s when it was owned by Jack Tom. One day Durb Dunzweiler called me to say the print shop was for sale. I reviewed their financial statements and decided it would be a good fit alongside Social Supper and that it would be a good investment. I have never been involved in the day-to-day operations and have never once operated a printing press.

“For several years,” he continued, “I’ve done consulting work under The Cole Group, doing church capital campaigns and campaigns for non-profits. In 2016 I joined as a principal in FocusCFO which offers fractional CFO services for small to medium sized privately held businesses. Prior to my business consulting and business ownership, I was the corporate CFO for a local business. Before moving to Zanesville in 1975 I was a CPA in the Columbus office of an international accounting firm.”

Cole grew up on a 212-acre farm in Adams County, graduated from West Union High School in 1964, then Ohio State with a degree in business administration and a major in accounting. “When I graduated from Ohio State,” he said, “I passed the CPA exam and worked at an international accounting firm in the Columbus office. One of my clients was The Buckeye Supply Company in Zanesville. They offered me a position as chief financial officer and I moved to Zanesville in 1975. The company and its affiliates were owned by the Straker family, great business people to learn from with high integrity, honesty, hard work and generosity. They were also intensely entrepreneurial and that rubbed off on me. I bought Social Supper in Dresden in 1986 and Tom's Print Shop in 1993. I took early retirement from Buckeye in 2003. I then expanded my career to include business consulting. I became a licensed pastor in the United Methodist Church and served two churches in Licking County before becoming pastor at Meadow Farm Church in August 2015.

“Tom’s Print Shop,” he added, “takes up only a small portion of my time and attention because I have dedicated employees.”

One of them is Tim Nye.

“I started working for Dean and his wife in 1986,” Nye recalled, “at a business they owned in Dresden. When that business closed in 2018, they brought me to work at Tom’s Print Shop here in Zanesville. Both businesses have had a family-type work atmosphere, which has made my transition to the printing business pretty easy. Dean is a very busy man as he does work in a lot of different areas with a lot of different companies, but he always has time to stop and talk sports, tell a joke or ask about my family. I honestly don’t know how he gets everything done.”

“I’m mostly passionate about being able to help other people and their businesses from the several involvements I have,” Cole responded. “I also believe in helping others through charitable causes within this community. Serving others over self is something that was taught to me by my parents.”

Tom’s Print Shop is located at 710 Main St. in Zanesville. For more information, call 740-452-7100.

Aces of Trades is a weekly series focusing on people and their jobs – whether they’re unusual jobs, fun jobs or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, let us know at trnews@zanesvilletimesrecorder.com.

This article originally appeared on Zanesville Times Recorder: Zanesville entrepreneur Dean Cole's passion is helping others