Midwest Mondays: Local Printer

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Tucked away in the heart of downtown Zeeland, a quaint, hometown-USA community, you will find our local printer. Zeeland Print has been operating out of this community for generations, with the family passing down the trade to the next son, daughter or grandson. When you walk in, you’re hit with the smell of ink and the whirring sounds of printers spitting out jobs. With antique letterpresses, authentic German 4-color presses, top-of-the-line digital printers, folding and binding machines, di-cutters and everything in between. They continue to grow and diversify, seeking out jobs that most larger companies refuse as they can provide a wide range of offerings to smaller businesses. They are the kind of place that makes you feel like history is alive, that you’ve stepped into a simpler time when the skilled trades thrived and everyone in town knew your name.

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That’s why, despite it being a bit of a drive outside of Grand Rapids, we keep coming here. They have a family atmosphere, always listening to the intricacies of the products we hope to create, and then are deeply dedicated to exceptional results. Face to face interaction and phone calls reign supreme.

Our team had the privilege of going on an after hours field trip to meet the owner, Brian Van Hoven, learn about his grandfather’s (known as Abe the Printer) beginnings in 1919, and just how they’ve manage to adapt their business over 96 years. We were in awe of the complexities of this work. Brian answered our array of questions with a smile and we left more intrigued than ever about this segment of the industry. Again, it was like visiting family.

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What happens if these tradesman don’t teach the next generation or there is lack of interest to learn? We are always proud of the stationery industry for keeping the art of the hand-written note and snail mail alive. Is this not another huge part of our burden… to elevate the status of the printing trade and reveal its relevance? I for one and am excited at the countless men and women who are buying and restoring old presses, getting their hands dirty with ink, creating designs, using local printers and keeping this trade alive! (major props to the many stationers out there that both design and print their products)

Also, if you happen to visit our marvelous printer, cross the street and stop into the TripelRoot for some local beer, flatbreads, and the best spent grain chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever tasted (seriously, we ordered like 6 rounds after our tour, and then a few more to take home!).

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Midwest Mondays: Flood’s a’comin!!!

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Gahhhh!!! It’s almost here, and this year’s event has us even more excited than normal. This will be the 3rd consecutive year we’ve shut down the brick avenue in front of our shop to create a day filled with street art and free family fun, and this time, we get to be the ones kicking off the ArtPrize enthusiasm! We supply the chalk while artists of every age do the rest, filling our street with their bright-colored creativity. There is so much freedom – you never know what you may encounter as you stroll, taking in the designs scattered everywhere you look at Chalk Flood.

We are thrilled to be welcoming some new partners this year to the event who will bring a new dynamic to the event through their products and purposeful causes. You will find fair trade jewelry and gifts made by rescued or at-risk women from Women at Risk International, an art cart from Freshly Squeezed, handmade soap from Fish Hill Soap Works, in addition to many other local shops and organizations!

Family entertainment and kid activities will be provided by The Grand Rapids Drive, 616 Development, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Grand Rapid’s Library and R-Athletics.

625_chalkflood-1So come and chalk up the city! Enjoy music, street vendors, food, a beer tent benefitting Rays of Hope International, street performers, and more! Over $1,000 in prizes will be awarded to top entries in adult and kid categories.

Saturday, September 19, 11am-5pm
Monroe
Center between Ionia and S. Division

Register before the event for special deals from us, Gina’s Boutique, Apothecary Off Main, and many others.

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Friday Finds: Rifle Paper Agenda

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There is something about being organized that makes me breathe a sigh of relief. I cannot manage 27 second graders, let alone my own life, if I am not on top of things. If the tool I’m using to organize myself is beautiful? Even better. This year I finally broke down and bought a Rifle planner. I’ll be honest, every year when the school supplies roll in at 6.25,  I have had a mental dialogue about whether or not to splurge on a planner. This year, though, I saw the blue flowered Rifle planners come in and I just knew something so pretty would make organizing my schedule actually enjoyable. It may be old-school, but writing my schedule down on paper makes me feel much more put together than simply plugging it into my iPhone. I like being able to see everything laid out in front of me. And feel the paper. And use pens. Multiple colored pens that represent different categories of events (this is the teacher part of me coming out).

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Another habit of mine is making multiple lists on post-its and then sticking them in my calendar. Or on my lesson plan book. Or really, anywhere. By the end of a full day of teaching, my well intentioned organization feels overwhelming and scattered. This Rifle planner has enough room for me to make my own built-in lists for each day. Then, most importantly, there are little boxes next to each line where I can make a satisfying check mark when I accomplish something. It’s the little things that count.

The school year started this week and I can honestly say I feel more prepared than ever. Maybe it is the extra week we had of summer…but I like to think it is because of my pretty little Rifle planner.

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Midwest Mondays: No Place Like Home

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Mondays from here on out have been upgraded to “Midwest Mondays.” Here you will find awesome stationery shops, creative companies thriving in the midwest, local brews, well-designed spaces, and events that should not be missed. Also, every 3rd Monday we will feature a Day Date in the Midwest,  giving you ideas for a mini-adventure, exploring a new town. You will agree, Midwest is Best.

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Alexander Calder’s La Grande Vitesse helped revitalize Grand Rapids’ ailing downtown. It was the initial project of the NEA’s public art initiative that awarded $15 million to help create almost 700 works.

To start this series off we thought we’d introduce you to our hometown, Grand Rapids, Michigan. We are perched right on the Grand River (which may be getting its rapids restored soon!) and just a short 30-40 minute drive to the banks of beautiful Lake Michigan. We are home to companies such as Meijer, Steelcase, Herman Miller, Amway, Bissell, Wolverine Worldwide, and ahem 6.25 Paper. Grand Rapids is known for being Furniture City because a bulk of the industrialized furniture designs in the last century came from here. We can thank the forests north of us for this. Now we are better known for being Beer City USA and also for the largest populist art competition in the world, ArtPrize, which brings over 140 thousand people downtown every fall. We have a thriving local food scene featuring stellar plates from every ethnicity, and because of our proximity to farms and orchards, there is a heavy emphasis on farm-to-table cuisine. A neighboring town, Sparta, is actually the 3rd largest apple producer in the country, so we are in no shortage of fresh, delicious produce (in the summer and fall anyway!)

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The image on the right is our shop along Monroe Center, which has historically been the shopping district for downtown. On the left you can see, looking West down Monroe Center, the history of shopping in our special area of Grand Rapids.

We often think of our city as a mid-size city with a small town feel, it seems you always bump into someone you know while you are out and about. Overall, its people are helpful and friendly. The city is easy to get around with great public transportation, home to nationally ranked hospitals, and you can be home from a hockey game or a play downtown in 15 minutes. We are also the hometown of President Gerald R. Ford, so his presidential library and museum are here, which is worth a visit for history buffs as well as anyone who wants a flash-back to the 70’s. Grand Rapids has gardens, museums, a tree-canopied zoo, markets, concert venues and plenty of cultural festivals and events.

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Our city, built around the conveniences of the Grand River. Photo source, mlive (click on photo for source).

Hands down, we love it here. Come visit us soon!

Friday Finds: Staff Favorites

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Jaime’s Fave:
It’s fun and I like that it comes with a colored envelope. I just sent this to a friend today! I used a gold sharpie for some “envelope art” / doodles. (from Bench Pressed)







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Kerianne’s Fave:
We often have a tendency to label birthdays as a day that reminds us we are one step closer to being “old.” A different, and perhaps healthier perspective, is to view birthdays as another year we were given to live fully. Emily McDowell captures this sentiment perfectly in her “Happy Anniversary of Being Alive” card. A simple yet beautiful reminder to celebrate the gift of being alive!”

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Tarah’s Fave:
Ok, ok, I totally feel lame choosing one from our own line, but I recently purchased this card for a family member. It captures the essence of the hype we feel rides on our birthdays, what the day must live up to, the emotion of time passing by, or the epic fun we have at a party, and as with most great expectations, disappointment often follows haha… This card is just so spot on, I can’t pass it up! (find it online here)

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Susan’s Fave:

This cards easily crosses all age groups. I like it because it is smart alecky but oh so true. You could give it to your Aunt Mary or your best friend and it would ring true for both. Plus how exciting to open up a cheerfully yellow letterpress card. (from Bench Pressed)

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Abbey’s Fave:

I’ve always been attracted to Papaya! cards. With so much detail and great use of color, they are always a bit exotic and unexpected. I love this card most for it’s sentiment, “Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional. Happy Birthday.” It’s a mantra I live by and believe we all should. Negativity in age and change is unhealthy, but with a youthful state-of-mind, happiness is unavoidable. Cherish those birthdays!

Welcome

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There is magic in new beginnings.

Like our new blog, for example.

Midwest Mondays: highlighting places, products and inspiration brought to you by lakes, corn fields, ranch dressing, county fairs, snow days, fishing, cherry pies, basketball, beach campfires and wide open space.

What the What Wednesdays: authored by Abbey and centered around retail business, design, 6.25 wholesale, conferences/trade shows, influence and wherever whim may take us.

Friday Finds: a mix of retail/product finds in our staff’s (abundant) travels and industry finds that are sure to inspire your creative side.

Each month we will feature a stationery, gift or paper company we love, and provide a fun DIY project from our in-store workshops.

Magic.