Hartsville Printing Company has shuttered its doors, leaving a hole in the local business community and the hearts of its loyal customers.
Roger and Linda Gregory, who ran Hartsville Printing for nearly 40 years, have decided the time has come to retire and move into the next stage of their lives.
“We closed a week ago Thursday,” Roger said, “when they came and took our Xerox copier. They let us out of our contract and that wound us up.”
Roger said after 40½ years, “we’re ready to retire. No real plans, just taking it easy once we get everything out of the shop.”
The Gregorys have been looking for customers to take some of the old equipment and had hoped to be able to turn the business over to a new owner. However so far both efforts have come up short.
“We wanted someone to take it over and accommodate our customers like we’ve done, but nobody was interested,” Linda said.
“A lot of it is scrap iron these days; they’ve outlived their usefulness,” Roger added.
He also noted that parts are no longer made for some of their old equipment.
Linda said that they were referring customers to Quality Printing in Gallatin, which is owned by Keith and Lisha Spivey.
“I believe they’ll give the same good service that we have for all these years,” Linda said of the Spiveys.
Roger’s roots in printing run deep, dating back to his time working at The Hartsville Vidette from 1968 to 1975 at its old location on Marlene Street. He began sweeping the floors and delivering papers and eventually learned to operate the press.
“One day someone said, ‘Come over here and watch this machine and if something happens do this and this,’ ” Roger said. “That’s the day I became a printer.”
After leaving The Vidette, Roger worked in Nashville for 18 months before going to Quality Printing in Gallatin for nearly a year and a half. Linda was working in The Vidette’s print shop at that same time and when the paper’s owners opted to close that portion of the business, Roger decided to take over.
The Gregorys opened Hartsville Printing at its location on River Street, just behind the historic courthouse, in October 1978. The company’s first job was a run of 1,000 envelopes for Tri-County Gas & Oil at a cost of just over $45.
Roger said they had rented the building for $125 monthly to start out, but decided to purchase the site after finding the monthly payments would be $135. According to Roger, the building itself is on the list of historic buildings as it dates back to the 1940s.
He also noted changes in the business over the years, saying they used to print a lot of medical records and government files – much of which are now computerized.
“All those little pieces of paper we used to produce; they’re gone,” Roger said.
The Gregorys said they would miss providing good service to their customers but plan to remain involved in the community.
“It was hard work but we always enjoyed it,” he said. “We’ve enjoyed helping people and satisfying our customers with a good product at a reasonable price.”
Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or [email protected]