Bang Printing remains one of Brainerd's oldest and largest private employers. It began in 1899 when E. E. Beard, a newcomer to the area, started a commercial printing business and a Brainerd daily newspaper, The Arena. Years later Beard's paper was purchased by R. M. Sheets and renamed The Brainerd Journal Press. When Sheets died suddenly in 1936 the paper was sold to Ralph R. Cole and Ralph E. Lindberg. Shortly after World War II, Ray Bang, a restaurant and nightclub owner, became a partner with the two men and eventually bought his partners out, but not before the partnership had purchased the area's oldest newspaper, The Brainerd Tribune.
By 1951 Ray Bang realized that the area was oversupplied with newspapers and sold his newspaper operation to The Brainerd Dispatch. Now strictly a commercial printer, the company was renamed the Brainerd Press, and later changed to Bang Printing. The firm grew slowly but steadily throughout the next two decades, specializing in catalogs and boxes for foodservice firms. By the early 1970's the company had attracted the attention of a much larger printer, Volkmuth Printers of St. Cloud, Minnesota, which bought Ray Bang out in 1973.
Two years later John Kurtzman, a real estate developer, teamed up with Dennis Johnson to buy the company from Volkmuth. Kurtzman contributed financial expertise to Johnson's years of experience in the printing business. The two men upgraded the facility and expanded the company's sales force. They invested in state of the art printing and bindery equipment and relocated to a new 80,000 square foot building on the outskirts of Brainerd.
With Dennis Johnson's untimely death in 1985, John Kurtzman became the sole owner and president of the firm. By 1996 under the direction of John Kurtzman and Vice President Chris Kurtzman, Bang Printing emerged as an important player in the book printing industry.
Today, Bang Printing is still owned by the Kurtzman family and is considered a leader in the book printing industry. Under Chris Kurtzman's ownership, Bang Printing continues to grow with the construction of a fulfillment center and acquisition of Delta Printing Solutions, Media Lithographics, Victor Graphics, Hess Print Solutions and October 2015 Sentinel Printing.