Three decades after it was first opened, Innovation Printing and Promotions is still sticking to its origins as a successful, family-run business.
Palma Guidi, owner of the Ozone Park store, at 107-27 Liberty Ave., is celebrating the 30th anniversary of her company this year, and while many things about the business have changed over time, one aspect has remained constant. She and her son Enzo still love running the business together.
What started out as an office supply store, specializing in the one-write check system that became popular in the 1980s, has evolved into one of the area’s go-to businesses for any kind of printing, including T-shirts, banners and promotional items such as pins.
Guidi’s husband, Enzo, opened the original storefront, then called Innovation Office Products, on Jamaica Avenue in 1984 after leaving his career in sales in favor of finding a career that would allow him to spend more time with his family.
She said her husband would travel a lot and often was not able to be home with their three young children for several days at a time, and the idea of running a business close to home greatly appealed to him.
“We lived in Woodhaven at the time and he wanted to do something that was in the neighborhood,” Guidi said.
At first, Guidi said her family never anticipated the store growing into a career that she and her children would have for many years to come. But as time went on, the Guidis and their children came to realize they liked the path they had chosen.
“We were able to work together, spend time with our family when we needed to and it was in the neighborhood, very close to where we lived,” Guidi said. “It worked out very well for us while we were raising a family because we could take care of the family and the business at the same time.”
In 1991, Innovation left Jamaica Avenue and moved to the building on Liberty Avenue that the Guidis purchased in order to have more space for their growing business, including a fully furnished basement.
Three years later, the business changed its name to Innovation Printing and Promotions and transitioned from selling office products to producing custom-printed and embroidered items, which Guidi said was due mostly to large chain stores such as Staples and Office Max popping up throughout the city.
Despite changing the scope of the business, Guidi said Innovation continued to do well. In 1994, her son Enzo joined the business and still works with her today as a graphic artist, designing and printing many of the art that goes onto the products they custom-make for customers.
“He was only 6 when the business was started and he loved it from the start,” Guidi said of her son Enzo. “If it weren’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be able to do as much as we do.”
In 2008, Guidi’s husband died, but she said selling the business never crossed her mind. She and Enzo still continue to run the store because they love the work and enjoy the day-to-day activities that change with every job they receive.
“It’s the diversity of the everyday action that keeps me busy and interested,” Enzo said. “Everything is always changing.”
As Guidi celebrates a milestone she said she never thought the business would reach, she said she is looking forward to continuing to work with her son and celebrate the company her husband ambitiously started 30 years ago.
Even as the printing industry continues to evolve, Guidi said she still plans to stay true to the fact that her business is, and always will be, a true family-run operation.
“I can’t believe it’s been 30 years already,” she said. “It’s amazing.”
Reach reporter Kelsey Durham at 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at kdurham@cn
©2014 Community News Group
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