By Nick Dutro
When a big box retailer closed shop at Westgate, it left Tiffin with a void in the office supply market. Now, one local business is expanding to close the gap for paper and ink offerings.
Mark Levans, owner of MLAD Graphic Design Services LLC, has opened The Paper Store, a walk-in retail paper store, at 181 Jefferson St. The store offers paper of different stock and quality and recycling of inkjet and toner cartridges in addition to its printing business.
"The only reason (I opened the store) was because of Staples closing," Levans said. "There are no other places to go and pick up paper, especially colored."
According to a news release, the store offers more than 40 colors of bonds and writing weights, and many brands. The store also has more varieties to be stocked, including envelopes of various sizes and shapes.
In addition, the store also is to stock a variety of grades of copier and laser printing paper.The store is to feature Hammermill laser print and digital color copy paper in more than 40 colors of 8 1/2 x 11 bond, and Levans said others can be ordered.
The release stated that customers can purchase paper as a ream, carton or pallet and the store offers free delivery within the Tiffin area for orders of multiple cartons and suppliers can deliver pallets directly to local offices and warehouses.
Levans said the new business does not completely fill the void left by Staples, but it keeps customers from having to travel out of town for paper. In addition, MLAD's existing black and white and full color printing services can be utilized on site.
Customers can bring in an original or a digital file to have copied or can order online.
Levans said copying and printing is not self-service as it was at Staples, but they offer competitive prices, some less than what the store offered.
As for ink needs, The Paper Store offers recycling services for cartridges, and also offers an on-site computer kiosk where customers can order ink through UpCycle Ink. According to a news release, UpCycle owner Audrey Jackson said the ink and toner cartridges are remanufactured in the U.S. and she guarantees every cartridge with a full money-back guarantee.
To meet today's on-demand lifestyle, Levans said The Paper Store offers walk-in service, in addition to orders made by phone and online.
Also, because UpCycle's products are offered online, they can be ordered anywhere. Levans said according to Jackson, ink orders made during the day should be delivered to a customer's home the next day.
A ribbon-cutting for The Paper Store was held Tuesday afternoon. Levans said he was happy with the turn out.
Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz, who was at Tuesday's event, said he heard many positive comments from people who attended.
Montz said while he wasn't happy Staples closed, he said "as one door closes, many others open, and this is one of those examples."
Montz added that with the new store, he hopes many people will discover the other services at MLAD, and that Levans can continue to expand his business as more people take advantage of those offerings.
Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. President and CEO David Zak said he was excited on "multiple levels" to see a local business being successful and expanding and to have another store open in downtown Tiffin.
Zak said it was another sign the "town center is growing stronger."
SIEDC aided Levans by getting the word out about a survey to see if there was interest for the services offered at The Paper Store. Zak said SIEDC used its social media and networking ties to get the business input, a service Zak hopes to be able to provide to more area organizations.
The Paper Store and MLAD are open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. To order paper online, visit mlad.com/paperstore.