Need a quick copy of something? You won’t be able to do it at PrintShops on Cliff Street anymore. After 37 years in business, the shop has closed.
Owner Ken Mills and salesman Harry Waterman have moved to Sir Speedy in Cranston, where they will continue to serve their customers, including offering pickup and drop off service.
But the little shop across from the Eldredge basketball courts closed its doors for the last time Saturday. The building, owned by Mills, is up for sale.
Before he opened PrintShops, Ken was living in upstate New York, with his wife, Bernice, working for General Electric.
“I wanted to have my own business, so we decided to come back to Rhode Island,” he said. “It’s been very good over the years.”
But these days, most people have access to printers at home and, because of the Internet, people are ordering fewer invitations and announcements. The changes in the industry have taken their toll.
“The small shops are dwindling down,” Mills said. “That’s what’s happening in the industry – just the economics of trying to survive.”
Mills said change has been a constant over his 37 years in business but that recent innovations have been the most significant.
“The quality of what comes off with a simple machine, off a digital printer, is just amazing,” he said. “The computer has made such a difference.”
The offer from Sir Speedy was “a good opportunity,” said Mills who, at 70, knew he wouldn’t be running the Cliff Street location forever. The Mills’s live in Quidnesset. Harry Waterman, who’s been with PrintShops for 25 years, lives in East Greenwich.
“We’re still there to serve our customers any way we can,” Mills said. “Numbers and email addresses stay the same.”