October 20, 2018 | ° F

Printing center celebrates 40 years of serving the Rutgers community

Photo by Malaika Jawed |

The Downtown Printing center, which was created in 1977, just celebrated its 40th anniversary. The center has served the Rutgers community since its creation and is individually operated as a family business.

The Downtown Printing Center is celebrating 40 years of helping Rutgers and the local New Brunswick community.

Juan E. Ruiz, the president of the Downtown Printing Center, said that the center is located in the exact same place that it was when it was founded by Larry Lynch in 1977.

“I came to work for him in 1996 as a general manager,” Ruiz said.

He said that he always liked graphic arts since he was very young, and on March, 15, 2001, after negotiating the price and the terms with Lynch, Ruiz took over the business.

In 1978, Ruiz lived in Brooklyn, New York and went to work for a print shop in Manhattan for about 10 to 15 years before he moved to Miami, Florida where his friend offered him a partnership to join the Print Shop.

He said that things did not work out the way he wanted and after two years, he returned to New Jersey, Ruiz said.

“I still love printing. It’s very challenging. It’s nothing like it used to be, but still it’s my passion,” Ruiz said.

Since he came to work in the Downtown Printing Center in New Brunswick, Ruiz said that he has learned significantly more than he did in both of the other shops he worked in and has been granted a great opportunity.

When asked what services the Downtown Printing Center provides, he said that their main business is off-set and digital printing, which includes everything from brochures to stationaries and newsletters.

“When you establish a relationship with us, we make sure that we do whatever you need, whenever you need it. Even if we are extremely busy and you are in a genuine need of something to be produced, we will get it done,” Ruiz said.

He said they were competing with many franchises, which eventually went out of business.

“I give you good service, a fair price and people keep coming back,” Ruiz said.

Some of the off-set printing industry is going away because the current technology is so advanced and cheap, he said.

“We would like to become a one-stop shop. In any business, we are able to do business cards, flyers, signs and the uniform,” Ruiz said.

In terms of hiring employees, he said that it does not hurt if somebody already has some knowledge, but that the best employees are the ones you train yourself.

Ruiz also offers internships to people in the local community and high school students as well as Rutgers students, he said.

Tony Nakamura, an assistant at the Downtown Printing Center, has been working at this location since 2001. He has taken courses in graphic arts and is a graphic designer by trade, he said.

When asked about training in graphic arts, Nakamura said it can be complicated.

“When you’re trying to learn something, it’s different when you’re actually trying from to design to go into print. It’s a different kind of language, going from the sketch to the print itself,” he said.

Nakamura said that because everything is beginning to go digital, everyone wants everything right away on their phone and the printing industry is slowly being killed.

Having an actual physical letter can be valuable, he said.

“Sure you can do E-vites and people will come. But, do they have anything to hold on to?” he said.

When asked how he thinks clients view the business, Nakamura said they view the business very favorably because they have loyal customers who keep on coming back. They have patrons who come in daily and look around, even if they do not buy anything right away.

He said that he considers the center to be somewhat of a mom-and-pop stop and that is part of the community.

“It’s more like a partnership. It’s more like family. Here, I care what he’s doing, and he cares about what I’m doing,” Nakamura said. “There’s a little more sense of propriety for each of us. If you don’t care about what you do, then nobody else will and everything will fall apart.”

Samil Tabani is a Rutgers Business School sophomore. He is a staff writer for The Daily Targum.

Samil Tabani

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