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Bradley Krause, 58; helped start, expand Kinko's empire

February 07, 2007|Valerie J. Nelson | Times Staff Writer

Bradley Krause, a founding partner of Kinko's who helped expand a single printing shop near UC Santa Barbara into a business empire, has died. He was 58.

Krause, who worked at Kinko's from 1972 to 1999, died of cancer Jan. 24 at Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport, N.Y., said his wife, Stuie Krause.

Company founder Paul Orfalea discovered his first partner -- then a hippie surfer with long hair and a beard -- when he went to a graphic arts and photography class at Santa Barbara City College looking for a pressman.

Within weeks, they were partners in the printing business. They soon shifted their attention to establishing copy centers near colleges. Krause took the business up the Pacific coast and became president of the company's Northwest division.

"Brad was open to new experiences and, as a partner, eager to try new things," Orfalea said in a statement. "Brad ran his company with a surfer's laid-back yet competitive attitude."

Krause eventually owned and managed partnership stakes in more than 100 stores, becoming one of four early partners who were "huge entrepreneurs in their own right," Orfalea wrote in his 2005 book about Kinko's, "Copy This!"

The company grew in the 1980s as it turned into the back office for small businesses and entrepreneurs -- a trend fueled by the rise of personal computers and downsizing by big companies.

By the time Krause left the office supply and print services company, it had more than 1,000 locations and 25,000 employees. FedEx bought Kinko's for $2.4 billion in 2003.

"He was able to grasp the big picture in business, which was so important in the growth of Kinko's at the time," his wife said. "And it was very, very important for him to be highly caring to his co-workers."

Bradley William Krause was born July 24, 1948, in Burbank. His father, Maxwell, was a projectionist who ran the dailies at Paramount Studios.

At 8, Krause was a dedicated surfer, a passion that would be rivaled by other outdoor pursuits.

"He was a runner, a surfer, a windsurfer, a motorcyclist, a competitive race-car driver," Orfalea said. "One friend said Brad probably loved photography as much as he did because you can take a picture in one eight-thousandth of a second."

A graduate of Hollywood High School, Krause served in the Army in South Vietnam in the late 1960s before earning an associate's degree from Santa Barbara City College in 1972.

After leaving Kinko's, he invested in real estate and spent at least half his time windsurfing or racing cars in the U.S. and Europe.

In 2004, he and his wife moved from Santa Barbara to Long Island, where they bought a home built in 1896 by Stuie Krause's great-grandfather and began restoring it.

"Brad had a tendency to challenge himself," his wife said. "So everything was big about Brad's life. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the toy, the bigger the pleasure. He just had a great zest for life."

In addition to his wife of 35 years, Krause is survived by his mother, Elizabeth Krause, 93, of Woodland Hills; and a sister, Carol Elizabeth Norton of Sun Lake, Ariz. A brother, David, died in 2003.


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