Early in life, founder, Howard Beasley Benton served as a printer’s devil in his father’s newspaper shop and family movie theatre. Upon returning from serving his country in World War II in 1945, Mr. Benton decided that it was time to begin his own path in life. Through diligence, drive and dedication, two national companies were formed.
Benton Card Company was formed first and became Howard’s namesake. Through his movie-theatre connections, Howard began letterpress printing exclusively for the entertainment field. Movie posters, advertisements and mailing pieces became his mark for excellence, and in short order and with many trade secrets; he dominated his field in the southeast. In the span of a few years he was monitored as “The King of Posters in the South”.
However, this wasn’t enough for Mr. Benton. He branched his business model out to concerts, festivals, rodeos, comedy acts & other forms of live entertainment. Posters, fliers, performers’ picture databases, tickets and other performance essentials became available to the large and secondary groups in the south. Shirley Caesar, Bernie Mac, Jay-Z & many others have found their names promoted through Mr. Benton’s service. Even Aretha Franklin attributes some of her early promotional success to Benton Card Company’s product lines.
In the seventies, the second company, Graphic Products, began creating and producing layout sheets. Companies such as USA Today would use his non-photo blue printed, 22 x 28 sheets to paste their articles and photos up before being shot into film for printing. While most national companies have moved passed this form of printing, Graphic Products is still a vital partner to many traditional newspaper-printing companies throughout the nation.
Also in the seventies, Mr. Benton diversified his event promotional business model to incorporate commercial printing as well. Through his efficiency and equipment, H.B. found he was able to continue his event promotion and still support much of print needs for much of the area and still maintain excellent print standards. Thus, Benton Card Company reached its final phase under Mr. Benton’s watch, as he passed away in 1999.
Since then, his daughter, Suzanne B. Cook, & son-in-law, Stephen P. Cook, have assumed duties of Benton Card. They have maintained Mr. Benton’s standards for excellence, have increased BCC’s capacity and technology, & are paving the way for Mr. Benton’s grandson, David Benton Cook & his wife, Jacqueline Nicole Cook to assume the reigns upon their retirement.