Ever wonder where police officers and parking attendants get all those summons tickets that end up under your windshield wipers? Royal Printing Service, a commercial printing company in West New York that has been in operation since 1932, prints a couple of hundred thousand summons books each year, in addition to many other items. The company, which vice presidents David and Kevin Passante describe as a small- to medium-sized print shop, recently received a $2.27 million bond from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, allowing them double in size. They were able to add new state-of-the-art equipment to their existing 10,000 square foot location on 51st Street in West New York. The company specializes in quality brochures and other commercial services for businesses and for various municipalities in the county. According to David Passante, the idea of funding was first introduced to the company from West New York Mayor Albio Sires, who then referred them to Elizabeth Spinelli, the director of the Hudson County Economic Development Corporation. Spinelli was able to get them started with the application process and sent it through to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. "We knew what we wanted to do," said David Passante. "We didn't expand because of the grant, but we were able to do a little more than we originally wanted because of the grant." The company was able to buy two homes next to the building to make room for the expansion. One of the homes was bought from a family that was moving to Florida, and the other was a run-down building in foreclosure. The grant offered lower interest rates and a longer payback period than a normal business loan would. Keeping up with technology
The company was able to buy much-needed printing equipment and add an entire department to the business. "It is very important to keep up with technology," said David. "Those that can are going to survive." Both David and Kevin have seen the printing world advance from setting type into a metal case to the new computer technology of today. "A lot of images are going from the computer right to print now," said Kevin. Kevin explained how originally, each individual letter was plucked from a type case and then locked into a metal case to go through the printing press. Two of the original printing presses are still used at the company. However, David said that they are only used for finishing work such as page numbering. Later, the printing process involved typesetting on a computer, printing out the page and then cutting and pasting the type onto a board. They would then take a picture of the finished board and use the negatives to print the finished product. Today, some negatives are still used, but a lot of the work comes straight from the computer and no longer needs to be pasted up and photographed. A new six-color printing press was added to the company's equipment recently. "This press allows us to be competitive with any company on the East Coast," said David. "Many companies may have more of these machines, but nobody has anything better than we have." This machine allows six colors to be printed at once, rather than earlier machines that only allowed one color at a time. The company was also able to add a pre-press or stripping department with the grant money. This department develops the negatives and transfers then over to a plate, which is a long sheet of aluminum that gets set into the printing press. This is the step before the actual printing, but after computer design. Before February of this year, Royal Printing Service had to send the pre-press work out to other companies to do the work. Now the work is done on site. Family affair
Royal Printing Service was opened in 1932 by Ralph F. Passante on 49th Street in West New York. Passante was an Italian immigrant who spent his early years in the United States as an apprentice in the printing industry. The company was originally opened with two employees, Passante and Tom Meola, who is now in semi-retirement and still works for the company on a part-time basis. Two years later, the business was moved to its present location. After Passante died in 1963, his youngest son, Ralph, took over the business and is still the current owner. His two sons now serve as vice presidents, marking the family's third generation in the business. David entered the family business in 1988 after graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a B.S. in printing, and Kevin joined in 1992 after also graduating from Rochester with a B.S. in printing management. The company also has two other vice presidents, Ed Bast and Doug Morro. Today, Royal Printing Service employs 32 people, who are mostly from West New York and can service businesses as far away as the state of Washington. "We are very fortunate being so close to New York City," said David. He said they hold a lot of accounts with companies in New York. "We are very competitive in New York," he said. Royal Printing Service was recently nominated for New Jersey Monthly's Family Business of the Year Award, but they have not yet heard back on the results. The new pre-press department and printing press are already in operation and the 9,000 square foot expansion already has been completed. However, the building is still missing some finishing touches, like the company name. The family expects the entire expansion to be completed by the end of August.