Thompson Printing

In Design, Paris
Like many businesses in Paris, you would never know it from the outside but there is a genuine gem in our midst, right at the top of Paris on Scott Ave. Thompson Printing, a local family-run business for 62 years, has all the charm of a specialized old world institution, complete with the might of industrial machinery and the aromatic smells of ink hot off the press.

We have some ideas for printed goods we wanted to cost out, and if we’ve learned anything from our experience with print jobs over the years it’s best to engage a printer before beginning the design. So through a recommendation from Studio50 (they loved their recent pieces printed by Thompson) we arranged an appointment with Jamie to come in for a conversation and talk over some printing options. Jamie, we later learned, is a third generation Thompson and the print house was founded by his grandparents, John and Mary. Side note: We love that Mary is credited as equally as John!

We’ve worked with a number of different printers over the years, particularly as we were getting quotes to print Beto’s Burrito, and we have learned that printing – especially in today’s market – is as much a sales job as it is a technical one. We completely appreciated that Jamie was a good salesman. And we don’t mean ‘good’ in the sense of being successful at selling things, but he was good by our own measures: extremely kind and thoughtful, deeply knowledgeable about the business and printing processes, resourceful and honest, and loves Paris as much – if not more – than we do.

Moo attended this meeting as well and as she was on the border of naptime-deprived mania, Jamie handled her well, ushering in stacks of paper and coloured highlighter markers to play with as we perused paper samples and geeked out about printing methods. We had brought in the 1989 map of Paris gifted to us by Steve Howes (we’d like to make an up-to-date companion map of Paris) and were pleasantly surprised that it was Thompson Printers who had printed the original! We simply hadn’t noticed the Thompson seal.

Clearly giddy with shared excitement over this Parisian artifact, Jamie called in both his parents who are in their seventies but still work at the shop. Herb and Margaret both had the warmth and authenticity of business owners from a previous era where they knew everything about you, your line of work, and always remembered to ask about your family. Margaret even remembered this particular map job as it was hers. Although we regretfully didn’t get a photo, her beloved office Golden Retriever, Duchess, is one of the friendliest pups we’ve ever met.

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Touring the warehouse of machines from pre-press and staging areas to the state-of-the-art digital printers and then the large scale lithograph machines is a one-of-a-kind experience. Even our two-year-old recognized this, and as she wandered into a large backroom she turned around and said like a real threenager, “This is so cool!” Jamie enthusiastically demonstrated the process of making plates, printing each plate by colour, machines that could print, fold and bind all inline, and one of their specialties – a machine that wets paper maps at their creases so they soften prior to folding.

While our own projects are a bit top secret at the moment, we are so thrilled to have connected with Thompson printers and are looking forward to working with them on a number of future ventures, one Paris family to another.

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