Truckee Business reaches 40 years

August 11, 2017
    Made in Tahoe

Truckee’s well-known printer, TIP Printing and Graphics, has reached an impressive 40-year milestone. The presses have been running non-stop, and owners Joel Gressel and Rich Valentine are looking back…and forward.

Part of TIP’s staying power can be attributed to the fact that ink has been running through the blood of these two for decades. […]

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“Through hard work and with the support of this incredible community, Joel and I have been able to provide local jobs, raise families, send our kids to college, and enjoy this great mountain town,” says Valentine.

Gressel studied graphic communications and printing at Cal Poly – still ranked a top university for graphic studies – then began his career at Typagraphix on Tahoe’s north shore, eventually buying out the beachfront mom and pop operation in ‘86. Typagrahix became one of the first companies at the Lake to utilize Apple’s Mac and up and coming desktop publishing tools. The small shop later moved to Truckee and opened as Joel’s Print Shop.

Valentine started in ’66 at a print shop in Lodi melting lead to make letters for linotype machines. Once he mastered melting and sweeping floors he moved up to a small, hand fed press churning out business cards, eventually learning the Windmill Heidelburg presses, the big guns of the printing world. Valentine and his wife Rene purchased Tahoe Instant Press in’78, which originally opened its doors in ’77 and was owned by Tony and Anne Spicuglia (If you recall what TIP stands for, you are an old timer indeed). TIP was modeled after PIP, the Postal Instant Press stores the Spicuglia’s had opened in San Francisco.

With growing families and business challenges operating as sole proprietorships the two friendly competitors merged shops and formed TIP Printing and Graphics, Inc., fusing over 50 years of print and graphic experience under one roof. The new TIP became capable of delivering the latest technologies with a print manufacturing background that ensured a professional product delivered on time and with a modern, smart look. The new partnership also allowed for some vacations and time with family, much to the relief of Joel’s wife, Susan, a high school teacher in Loyalton.

Says Valentine, “Our consolidation provided a perfect solution that offered each of us the opportunity to follow our own special gifts; Joel is a studied graphic artist and an accomplished IT specialist, and I’m a printer through and through, who especially enjoys production, finish work, and even deadlines.”

A large part of TIP’s longevity has been the ability to embrace the constant innovations within the industry.

“TIP regularly updates to the latest software, equipment, and processes,” says Gressel. “We have also increased our associations in the industry to provide higher quality products and services to the Truckee Tahoe community.”

In 2016 TIP purchased a Konica Minolta color digital press, and the 40-year anniversary has seen continued investment in a new, high tech website that allows customers to handle their print needs more easily and efficiently online. From the website customers can create orders, re-order, view their history and pdf proofs, and pay – simply and online.

While financial investments, equipment obsolescence, and maintaining environmental sustainability brings its share of stressors, naturally so does surviving in a small mountain town for 40 years. When asked about their most significant hurtles, Valentine explains, “Our challenges have been numerous, but the most difficult was letting go of many great employees during the 2008 downturn; they had been with us for decades. We overcame the economic hardship by automating and downsizing our space. We moved to our current location, which was a very difficult process. We had to depend on friends and family to pull it off.”

The two partners recognize the over 40 employees who have contributed to their success through the years and are also keenly aware of the community support they’ve received as well.

“Through hard work and with the support of this incredible community, Joel and I have been able to provide local jobs, raise families, send our kids to college, and enjoy this great mountain town,” says Valentine.

TIP won the Truckee Chamber Small Business of the Year Award in 2007 and thanked the business community for its many years of support.

Says Gressel, “We’ve always focused on a strong commitment to the business community, personalized service, our town, and the environment.”

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