Stipple Print is just the latest incarnation of a print shop that was started in the late 80’s. First founded as Intrawest Reprographics and now we are proud to be Stipple Print. Serving Screen Printing in Aurora Colorado.
In 1983 Intrawest Reprographics was founded by Jeff Abrams. In these early days the equipment was analog copiers. These machines had to flash each time a print was made. If you got spots on your prints, you had to remove them with a pumice rock and cyanide. Needless to say that the technology has progressed since then and it isn’t nearly as dangerous as it was to start.
In 1989, Jeff put Intrawest Reprographics up for sale. He was struggling to keep it open with a retail location and mail boxes. Pete Grondorf was looking for a struggling business that he could turn around. So in December of 1989 he purchased Intrawest Reprographics. The first order of business that he undertook was to scale up all aspects of the operation. Next thing was to go out and talk to every printer in the Denver Market. As success after success built up a strong business, upgraded machines, upgraded locations, and implemented new computer systems. By the end of 1999 we had transitioned to some digital equipment, both color and black and white.
After the dot com crash in 2001 Intrawest Reprographics was hit hard just like so many others. Pete forged ahead while most of our friends and peers went out of business. His secret to keeping Intrawest Reprographics afloat was a strategy of low overhead and reduced expenses. These are the way that we stay competitive in this market. Now, we own outright, 98% of our equipment and have a very low lease payment on the building.
Denver Copy Era
The lean years had been really lean, and in 2008 it became apparent that the only way to save the business would be to declare bankruptcy. With the transition through that process Pete decided to change the name of Intrawest Reprographics to Denver Copy. Along with being easier to remember it also had the DenverCopy.net available and that has been good for customers as that Intrawest Reprographics is hard to spell. In January of 2011, we had our hardest month of existence and we lay off nearly everyone. The only two left at that point were Pete and his son Sam. From there, the two set out to recover all the ground lost in the previous years. Within 6 months we rehired who we could, and hired some temporary help which works as needed.
In January of 2012, where Sam took over the responsibility of the entire operation, with Pete stepping aside but providing guidance. Now the focus is on making each individual customer with each job happy with done correctly, on time and as inexpensively as possible.
While Denver Copy was started in 2008, the name was changed to Denver Print & Bind in 2013.
Denver Print and Bind
After Sam took over, he made the change to Denver Print and Bind to more accurately reflect the business practices. We printed and bound all the work that we completed. And he felt that was a market difference. Most print shops at that time outsourced a fair amount of their work and we did not. This enabled us to be faster on turn times than a big portion of the competition. In 2012, Wandel Press closed, and we purchased a few machines from them. First, the perfect binder; we had a small one before, but this one is significantly bigger and faster. We also bought a large format printer, big, computerized guillotine cutter, corner rounder, and Letter Press. With the addition of the Letter Press, we added die cutting to our portfolio.
In 2014, we purchased a vinyl cutter, heat transfer press and 6 color screen printer. We were fulling in the garment printing business at this point. These represented new skills that were not previously part of the skills of the business. Over the next several years, we perfected the skill of printing on shirts and making decals for vehicle and business signs. In addition to that, we implemented forms on our website to facilitate estimates and quotes for printing with greater speed and accuracy.
May 2015, Sam’s wife, Brandie who was at the time working at the shop too, became pregnant. Later, in March 2016, she gave birth to his Daughter. At that point, he made the decision to move the business out of the commercial space in Englewood, to Aurora, out of his house. We reduced our footprint by more than ¾ to achieve this. We filled 3 roll offs, gave away machines, and cleared out all the excess inventory we had been sitting on. Later that year, we implemented the first Web to Print solution. This enabled customers to order online.
Stipple Print Era
In December of 2018, Sam had to shut down the operation due to a pending divorce to Brandie. Since the business was being run out of his house. He had to step away while the divorce was going through the courts. Meanwhile he had to work and ended up at Office Depot running the copy center. While running the copy center, he realized that the tools available in that setting were not good enough to achieve the results that he was used to. In March 2020, he was informed that his store was being closed and that there was not a copy center manager position available in another store. He knew that the best course was to reopen under a new name and start over again. By this point he was done with the divorce and ended up with the house at the end along with all the equipment and stock.
With the change in the printing business that occurred as a result of everything in 2020, we have made Screen Printing in Aurora our new business focus. We can still do all of the work that we were doing before, but have changed our focus to garments and screen printing. The latest addition to our service portfolio is a new vinyl cutter and a hat press.