THE HISTORY OF WELLS AND DREW
The fine printing & engraving services provided by Wells & Drew have attracted International and high-profile clients in the entertainment industry, including television, movies, and music.
THIS IS HOW IT STARTED.
The H. & W. B. Drew Company is the historic Jacksonville, Florida printing company established by the Drew Family. The founder, Columbus Drew, came to Jacksonville, Florida in 1848 from Washington, D. C., and opened the iconic Columbus Drew Stationery Printing Company in 1855. The company was later renamed the H. & W. B. Drew Company, and for well over a century the Drew Company was one of the oldest businesses in Florida in continuous operation. During the Civil War years, Drew served in the Confederate Treasury Department in Richmond, Virginia, handing the day-to-day operations of the company over to his eldest son, Horace. The family was forced to leave Jacksonville, due to war skirmishes, and settled in Lake City, Florida. After the war, Drew returned to Jacksonville and began rebuilding his business along with his son Horace.
In 1876, upon his appointment to the position of Florida Comptroller by Governor George Drew (no relation), Columbus Drew sold the business to his son Horace. At this time, Drew brothers William B., John Graeme and Julius joined Horace in a new printing plant on West Bay Street; the firm was then named “H. Drew” or “Horace Drew.”
Horace Drew acquired the family business in 1876 when Columbus Drew assumed the duties of Florida Comptroller. Horace was a young man filled with ambition and many constructive ideas for the development of the business and the city of Jacksonville. His younger brother, William B. Drew, graduated from Eastman College of Business and entered the business with Horace. The contributions of William B. to the progress of the business were substantial enough to justify him in becoming a full partner in 1886, when the name of the firm was changed to “H. Drew and Brother.”
The business was operated in a large building known as 49-51 West Bay Street, which was erected by the owner of the property in accordance with plans drawn up by Horace Drew. In 1893 the company was incorporated as “H. & W. B. Drew Company, Inc.,” and has continued to operate under that charter with several amendments.
THE GREAT JACKSONVILLE FIRE OF 1901
The Great Jacksonville Fire of 1901 destroyed the company’s plant, and a new two story building was soon erected at 45-47 West Bay Street. Horace Drew continued as Company President until his death in 1926. The business remained primarily in family ownership for most of the twentieth century.
As a result, the H. & W. B. Drew Company was known as the “oldest family business” extant in Jacksonville. It provided engraved stationery and office supplies to professionals throughout the country.
THE WELLS & DREW COMPANY
In September, 1982, Wells Legal Supply, Inc. was established by Johnnie O. Wells and his son-in-law Randy Houser. The company caters to law firms and professionals, providing custom engraving services, stationery, business cards, legal forms, graphic design services, in addition to marketing assistance for small to medium law firms.
Wells Legal Supply, Inc was Established
In 1997, Wells Legal Supply, Inc. bought the H. & W. B. Drew Company to form The Wells & Drew Company. The aging owners of the Drew Company wanted to retire, so they put the company on the market. Since their primary line of business was nearly the same as the Wells Legal Supply, Inc. the acquisition made perfect business sense.
The logistics of the two businesses necessitated the purchase of a new building to house the new company, so Wells and Houser bought a nearby 12,000 square foot building that served the purpose. In 2005 Wells & Drew bought the Narup Engraving Company and in 2009 bought Pfaffco Engraving, both based in Miami Florida.
The Wells & Drew Company serves law firms and professional corporations with outstanding products and services that have defined them as one of the premier printing companies in the country.