A fine artist at heart, Stephen Grzesik knew he didn’t want to be the stereotypical “poor starving artist” after completing college.
“So I decided to get into printing new graphic arts,” he said.
For the past 34 years, he’s co-owned The Ink Spot Printing and Copy Center in Southold with his wife, Donna, who handles administration and customer service for the business.
The Ink Spot, on Boisseau Avenue, is one of two iconic Southold print shops currently for sale, joining Academy Printing on Hortons Lane on the market. The Ink Spot has been listed since late July. Mr. Grzesik said the building is not for sale.
“We’d love to pass the baton to somebody else who could take it up to [the] next level or continue it because we’ve been a good service for the community for a long time,” Mr. Grzesik said.
The print shop has been offering customers a wide range of services, including copy, fax, email, scanning, printing books, newsletters, signage and more.
Mr. Grzesik has adapted the business over the past three decades, switching from printing presses to digital around 12 years ago. He says he had one of the East End’s first digital computer-to-plate printers.
The Ink Spot has about 2,000 repeat customers, according to Mr. Grzesik. It currently has one other full-time staff member, who manages production and customer service, as well as a part-time administrative customer service employee.
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 wants their customers to know they won’t be shutting their doors and won’t sell until they have the perfect buyer.
“We feel an obligation to our customers,” Ms. Grzesik said. “We want to find a good fit for somebody to take it over so they could keep our customers serviced.”
When the time comes, the Grzesiks also plan to be around 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 out of the same 4,000-square-foot space since 1948. The building dates to 1867 and was originally a one-room schoolhouse called the Southold Academy.
Co-owner Mike Hagerman also has deep personal roots in the community, as a s a 12th-generation Southold resident. He and his wife, Rita, are the fourth owners of the business, which they have operated since Mr. Hagerman purchased is from his father in 1987.
The business prints everything from business cards to signs, banners, mailers and more, Mr. Hagerman said. It also produces The Peconic Bay Shopper, a monthly publication that features historic photos and stories of the North Fork. In 2016, it featured a story about the historic significance of the Academy Printing building and the school that once occupied it.
About 20 years ago, the Hagermans applied to have the building added to the National Register of Historic Places, which means its exterior will be preserved.
The business and building have been on the market for a year, according to Mr. 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 in place.
“We felt like it’s really important to make sure that the business survives,” said Ms. Hagerman. “The people that were coming to look at the building, one was going to make it into an art studio, one wanted to make an antique shop, and then we decided it should stay a print shop.”
They currently have a pressman and two graphic artists on staff.
“[The ideal scenario would be] have someone coming in here and buying the place and just renting [for] a minimal rent to our employees,” Mr. Hagerman said. “That would be the ideal.”
In the meantime, the Hagermans want to make sure the community knows that Academy Printing will continue.
“I’d just like to have the public reassured that the Academy is not closing, that it’s going to continue on as a print shop,” Mr. Hagerman said.
“Whether it has to move or whatever, it’s not going to dissolve,” Ms. Hagerman added.