Two iconic print shops in Southold for sale
A fine artist at heart, Stephen Grzesik knew he didn’t want to be the stereotypical “poor hungry artist” after finishing college.
“So I decided to get into printing new graphic arts,” he said.
For the past 34 years, he has co-owned the Ink Spot Printing and Copy Center in Southold with his wife, Donna, who looks after the administration and customer service of the business.
The Ink Spot, on Boisseau Avenue, is one of two iconic Southold print shops currently on sale, joining Academy Printing on Hortons Lane in the market. The Ink Spot has been listed since late July. Mr. Grzesik said the building is not for sale.
“We would love to pass the baton to someone else who can take it on. [the] next level or continue because we have been a good service to the community for a long time,” Mr. Grzesik said.
The printing house offers its customers a wide range of services including copying, faxing, emailing, scanning, book printing, newsletters, signage, and more.
Mr. Grzesik adapted the business over the past three decades, transitioning from printing presses to digital about 12 years ago. He says he owned one of the first digital plate printers in the East End.
According to Mr. Grzesik, The Ink Spot has around 2,000 regular customers. It currently has another full-time employee, who manages production and customer service, as well as a part-time administrative employee in customer service.
The asking price for the business is $195,000, according to Douglas Elliman Real Estate, and Mr Grzesik says there are currently three or four potential buyers. But the couple want their customers to know they won’t close their doors and sell until they have the perfect buyer.
“We feel obligated to our customers,” Ms. Grzesik said. “We want to find a good candidate for someone to take over so they can continue to serve our customers.”
When the time comes, the Grzesiks also plan to be there to help the new owner of the business and ensure a smooth transition.
Once they find the right person and the business changes hands, the couple plans to spend more time with their family.
Academy Printing has operated in the same 4,000 square foot space since 1948. The building dates back to 1867 and was originally a one-room schoolhouse called Southold Academy.
Co-owner Mike Hagerman also has deep personal roots in the community, as a 12th generation Southold resident. He and his wife, Rita, are the fourth owners of the business, which they have operated since Mr Hagerman bought it from his father in 1987.
The company prints everything from business cards to signs, banners, direct mail and more, Hagerman said. He also produces The Peconic Bay Shopper, a monthly publication that features historic photos and stories from the North Fork. In 2016, he featured a story about the historical significance of the Academy Printing building and the school that once occupied it.
About 20 years ago, the Hagermans requested that the building be added to the National Register of Historic Places, which means its exterior will be preserved.
The business and the building have been on the market for a year, according to Hagerman. The asking price is $1.295 million and while there have been various offers, the Hagermans are still looking for the perfect buyer who will invest in the structure and keep the business going.
“We thought it was really important to make sure the business survived,” Ms. Hagerman said. “People who came to see the building, one was going to make it an art studio, the other wanted to make an antique shop, and then we decided it should stay a print shop.”
They currently have a pressman and two graphic designers on staff.
“[The ideal scenario would be] have someone come here and buy the place and just rent [for] minimum rent to our employees,” Hagerman said. “That would be ideal.”
In the meantime, the Hagermans want to make sure the community knows that Academy Printing will continue.
“I just want the public to be reassured that the Academy is not closing, that it will continue as a printing press,” Mr. Hagerman said.
“Whether it has to move or whatever, it’s not going to dissolve,” Ms Hagerman added.