CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago was once the publishing capital of the world for books, magazines, and catalogs.
From the late 19th century through much of the 20th century, most of the work was done in one city neighborhood.
As CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports, Printers Row is losing the last link to its past.
“There’s something special about being here in Printers Row and being the last printer down here,” said Ed Rossini, the President of Palmer Printing.
Printers Row, located in the South Loop, is now filled with restaurants, condos, and college students, but it was once awash in ink and paper.
“From Harrison Street to Polk Street, a four-block area, that’s all there was,” recalled Ciro Rossini, Palmer Printing’s CEO.
Everyone left Printers Row except Palmer Printing. After 80 years it, too, is packing up and merging with another company.
Palmer Printing is moving to suburban Elk Grove Village. It’s been owner Ciro Rossini’s life’s work since he was an 18-year-old employee, then the owner.
“It’s going to be sad to get up in the morning and not being able to drive down here because I’ve done it for 66 years,” Ciro Rossini said.
Material that used to be printed is now published online.
“People don’t need the membership guides and the catalogs are down,” said Ed Rossini.
Palmer Printing has had to adjust. It’s now largely a marketing firm under the leadership of Ciro’s son, Ed. Soon it will have a new home.
“I’m very lucky to have my children. They check on me every day” Ciro said, holding back tears.
Palmer Printing says it does not need as much space as it has right now in Printers Row and in a changing business, a merger now makes sense.
But before the last moving truck drives off, the company is giving away lots of fine paper, worth $100,000 to Chicago Public Schools, art organizations, and charities. It will happen from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at 739 South Clark Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week.