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.
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.
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!).