Printing has run in the family’s blood for almost a century. Universal Bookbinding Works was founded by a dapper 44-year-old Morris Kaimowitz, fresh off the boat from Lodz, Poland, in 1922. He was described as a man with “the heart of an angel and the hands of a craftsman”. These two facets – representing strong, uncompromising values on the one hand, and industry-leading expertise on the other – would characterise the business through all of its various iterations over the next 100 years.
In time, Universal Bookbinding Works became Belmor (a contraction of Bella and Morris). The company began producing everything from desk blotters, pattern covers, portfolios and school exercise books to lever arch files and ring binders. Only the best paper and finishes were used. As the operation grew and Belmor became a household name, factories and warehouses began to spring up around the area.
In the 1950’s, Belmor branched out into stationery, an early exemplar of the diversification that is today one of Kadimah’s key strengths. Later, in the 1970’s and 1980’s, with the third generation taking the helm, the company continued to grow dramatically, incorporating an Executive Gifts divisions and expanding into Africa, and even Europe. Over the last 25 years, Kadimah has emerged as South Africa’s leading print management specialist – a one-stop-printing-shop that retains the same family business feel, uncompromising product quality, and unwavering commitment to the customer that were so important to Morris Kaimowitz all those years ago.
In those early days, Morris would spend his day canvassing for business – literally going door-to-door – and at night, he would transform the kitchen of the small living quarters he shared with his wife Bella and five sons, into a customised bookbinding “factory”. Morris threw himself into the work, painstakingly hand stitching and gold tooling book after book, gradually making a name for himself as the best binder in the business. Four of his sons joined him, and together they created a print empire.