He’s been Scott “The Printer” for 40 years, but in 1979, fresh out of the graphic arts program in Williamsport Area Community College, Scott Tanner thought his worries were over when he landed a position with a printing company.

The job market was tight, however, and when the company laid off employees two years later, Tanner found himself job-searching once again.

After applying to at least 20 companies between Plymouth and Harrisburg and getting only one offer 50 miles away, he searched up and down the Shamokin Dam Strip for a space to lease. Mary and Jim Ludwig, owners of M and J Lamps, said they were selling their building.

“I looked at it that night at 5:05 p.m., and I said, ‘I’ll take it,’” Tanner said. “I opened Ink Spot Printing on a shoestring budget of $2,000. That included used, slow printing presses.”

This year, Ink Spot Printing, at 6821 Park Road, is celebrating its 40th year in business.

“My first customer was the old Airport Restaurant,” Tanner said. “I still remember. It was letterhead, envelopes and business cards.” But, it was a start for someone who had been printing since the age of 15 when he attended Columbia-Montour Area Vocational Technical School.

As Ink Spot Printing grew and customers requested larger quantities, he acquired faster machines to create office materials, banners, yard signs, posters and even antique photo restorations. He learned new techniques and hustled to keep up with customers’ needs, hardly noticing the passing of years.

“You’re so busy with the business and your personal life,” he said. “Next thing you know, bam, 40.”

This past August and September flew by, with bigger orders on top of his regular requests. National Beef Packing Company, in Selinsgrove, placed an order for 500 T-shirts with the company logo on the front and a company-sponsored art contest for safety on the back. Other businesses requested yard signs advertising services like masonry, chimney restoration and roofing.

One of Tanner’s favorite tasks is designing business brochures and posters.

“It’s like a jigsaw puzzle, just putting it together in pieces,” he said.

Through his work, he often learns of new businesses or community events. He also has the opportunity to help community members during times of joy and sorrow, as he did when creating Fallen Heroes banners for the Selinsgrove VFW Post 6631 Ladies Auxiliary to hang on downtown light posts.

Recently he was asked to create a banner with photos to display at a funeral.

“I got it done in two days” he said. “I felt good because I know the family a little bit.”

He’s seen a lot of businesses come and go, and he’s maintained a decades-long working relationship with several of them, like Bride’s Bouquet, in Selinsgrove.

“He’s become a friend over the years,” said Cindy Chappell, owner of Bride’s Bouquet, adding that his work is always perfect. “I enjoy picking up our orders. He always gives us what we were looking for.”

Nancy Kindler, of Kantz, stopped in recently to pick up a poster she had made.

“He’s got a great personality,” she said. “He’s very customer service-oriented. Very helpful.”

Tanner laughed when thinking about the changes in the printing industry over the years.

“Back then we used to joke that you’d get ink on everything. Your hands, elbows, clothes,” he said, noting that laser printers fuse the ink onto the paper, which prints out dry. “Today I hardly ever get dirty. I get dirtier refilling printer cartridges.”

Over the years he often went “full circle” with families, printing birth announcements, high school graduation announcements, wedding invitations and funeral cards.

“It’s neat when someone says that I printed their wedding invitations 40 years ago and they’re back to order anniversary invitations,” he said.

Where he used to print about 100 wedding invitation orders a year, today, with online options, he’s down to three or four a year. Printed logos on clothing is another area that started growing in the 1990s and is now commonplace, as are magnetic signs for cars and trucks.

While many businesses now rely on computer generated invoices, Tanner is grateful to “old-school” enterprises, like Kunkel Brothers auto body shop in Selinsgrove, which prefers to support their fellow small businesses and continues to order invoices from Ink Spot.

“I’d like to give a big thank-you to all my current and past customers,” Tanner said, adding that he’s looking forward to the future. “I’d like to work 10 more years to celebrate 50 years in business!”

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