Prime Printing in Poughkeepsie isn’t your typical copy shop. Opened during the world-wide economic slump of 2008, the shop survived its first tenuous years by putting people above profits—an approach that has created a strong customer base and allowed the business to thrive.
In the late 1990s, owner Daniel Clark was working for a competing shop, albeit one that didn’t do much printing.
“There was a dusty little copier in the corner, and I gravitated toward that and the Mac and the PC. I knew how to do some simple layout, and I knew how to juggle jobs,” says Clark. “It got to the point where that was my job. I wasn’t stocking shelves anymore or running the register, I was making copy jobs for people.”
Clark became so good at what he did, customers began to assume that he owned the copy portion of the business. “I took it as a clue,” he says.
Today, Prime Printing has found its niche in producing architectural and engineering prints.
“I don’t specialize in someone bringing in something for a copy of a recipe,” Clark says. “I don’t even fax for that matter. Architectural and engineering printing is my forte.”
Clark runs his shop with a spirit of generosity that is already having an impact on future customers.
“Last year and this year, I supplied the Dutchess Community College architecture class with their drafting supplies,” Clark says. “A little bit of me is kind of psyched about it, because these kids are 18 or 19. Hopefully, I’ll be here in 20 years and they’ll say, ‘Oh, I remember that place, they’ve been around forever.’”
Clark has also incorporated his love of helping nonprofits into his advertising strategy.
“It’s been a very organically-growing thing—growing at exactly the pace it should grow—because I really don’t advertise. I rely on word of mouth, and I rely on sponsorships,” he explains. “I would prefer to sponsor an event with an in-kind donation and see the organization that’s hosting that event benefit from it. Even if I hear crickets in exchange, it makes me feel good that I’m at least doing something for someone.”
Prime will often provide a nonprofit with items such as banners, postcards, or booklets, which can translate into major savings for an organization. Clark has worked with a number of nonprofit organizations, including Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Spark Media Project, The Dutchess County SPCA, and Animal Farm Foundation.
“Working with nonprofits allows me to stretch my wings. You can make blueprints all day, and that’s great, but if you can do something meaningful for a group, that’s really why I get up every morning.”