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New York Printers — One State, Two Worlds

September 2008 By Erik Cagle
Senior Editor
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REMEMBER VARICK Street? It used to be teaming with printers, until Trinity Church Real Estate—with extensive holdings on Varick—opted not to renew many printer leases about 10 years ago. Alas, the real estate boom eroded a fine tradition, as many shops were forced to relocate.

But New Yorkers are tough, no doubt about it, and have the survival skills to meet challenges. And thrive. According to the PIA/GATF, in its 2006 estimate for state print markets, New York ranked third in the nation for printing shipments at $12.3 billion, trailing only California ($15.3 billion) and Illinois ($12.9 billion).

It is easy to get lost in the mystique and aura of New York City. It is a state of printing unto itself, with its own set of advantages, challenges and outlooks. It bears little resemblance to the rest of the state, from a print perspective.

For some, operating in or around the city has its perks. Howie Weinstein, president of Candid Litho in Long Island City (which also has locations in Manhattan and New Jersey), says that New York City has been “amazing” in providing business and tax incentives: a REAP (Relocation and Employee Assistance) benefit of $3,000 per employee tax credit for 12 years. When the company moved its main facility out of the city to Long Island, the city government provided a $200,000 grant to help defray the costs.

“The city has been nothing but a tremendous help,” Weinstein remarks. “The state, on the other hand, promised us grant money but never came through.”

The move hasn’t hurt Candid Litho one iota. “We have clients on-press every single day,” Weinstein says. “Almost like retail, it’s all about location, location, location. That’s very important to our continued success.”

Big Back Yard Benefits

American Print Solutions of Long Island City is another company that benefits from the swell of major national corporations right in its back yard. Stuart Saperstein, vice president, notes that even in a tough economy, the diversity of customers provides a distinct advantage over many regions of the country.

“We’ve reinvented ourselves; we’re also a major marketing company,” Saperstein says. “We take a job from concept to completion with the help of our staff of on-site designers, so we’re in on the ground floor with customers. That has been the key—helping (clients) develop, market and print their ideas.”

The knock on printing for a long time has been the lack of skilled employees, but print buyers are often lacking in the most basic of knowledge. In the end, it’s the printer who is left to do a majority of the hand-holding and guiding on jobs.
 

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