Source: News-Journal, October 26, 2011
Tranter Paper Co. Closes, Thanks Loyal Customers
By Shaun Tilghman, News Editor
Dave Tranter, owner of Tranter Paper Company, located at 107 N. Walnut St., recently made the decision to close his store and retire after 25 years in the business.
According to Dave, the business started in 1905 as The News Printing Company, and was located on Main Street. At that time, the business was half newspaper (The North Manchester News) and the other half was commercial printing.
"In those years, small town newspapers had to have a printing skill," Dave explained, "and often times, especially with weekly newspapers, they would put that printing skill to work after the paper came out."
In 1920, the business merged with The North Manchester Journal and became The North Manchester News-Journal. The printing company remained at the original location and became Manchester Printing Company, while the newspaper moved across the street. In 1970, the printing company relocated to the west side of the 100 block of Walnut Street and became The Print Shop.
"In 1986, we bought The Print Shop and turned it into Tranter Printing and Office Supply," Dave said. "We brought the printing company when we moved across the street to our current location. This building used to be a hardware store and we bought it in 1998, so we've been here for about 13 years.
"I've been at the business for 25 years this year, so it's very appropriate that I turn 65 and retire at the same time that we hit 25 years. We've had a lot of great employees over the years, and we have a staff that is kind of retiring with me; I'm 65 and I'm the youngest on my staff, so that tells you a little about the organization and why it was time to do this."
As far as customers, Dave said they could probably count every business in North Manchester as a customer at some point--whether it was for office supplies, commercial printing, copy service, fax service, UPS shipping, etc. They also carried greeting cards, gifts, and various other items.
"Everybody has been extremely loyal to us, and we've always tried to bend over backward to make things the way the customer wanted," he added. "We recognized early on that 'small town America' and 'small town business' is perhaps unique--they're very independent people--and we've tried to make sure their needs are met. My philosophy has always been to find out what the customers want and then offer that to them.
"When we moved across the street here 13 years ago, printing was changing to digital imaging and we made the transition at that time. In the last few years, you could almost call us a digital imaging center, or a fancy copy shop, rather than a printing company. With modern technology came competition that we couldn't always compete with, but the one thing we could compete with was convenience. People would come in and ask for things, and we tried to keep what they needed on the shelves--that's what people are going to miss."
In conjunction with closing its doors, the business held a four-week sales event, during which items were marked 25 percent off, then 50 percent off and 75 percent off, and the final endeavor was a garage sale on Saturday, Oct. 15.
"Really, we've been very successful," Dave said. "People have been very, very good about buying things that we've had left to offer. We anticipated that we would sell about half of our merchandise during the final sales, but we probably ended up selling 80-90 percent of it."
Dave concluded by saying that, in the final days, many people had inquired as to where they could go to send a fax or make copies, and he thinks that might be something someone here in town could step up and take over. "We did have a lot of people look at the business to potentially keep it running, but in this day of modern entrepreneurship that was going to be really tough for anyone to work out," he added.
"We just want to extend a sincere thank-you," Dave continued, "for the loyalty over the years and just for being good customers--it's been a good relationship. It's been fun, we've enjoyed every minute of it, and if we had it to do over again, we'd probably do the exact same thing."