By Ashley Lodato
The faces behind the counter have changed, but the high-quality print services offered by Riverside Printing will remain the same, as new owners Virginia and Ben Nelson take over the business from Jerome and Kim Thiel.
Motivated by a desire to consolidate and simplify their employment situations — which up until last week included the Nelsons owning one local business (Rendezvous Huts) and working as employees at two others (him at Old Schoolhouse Brewery, her at Methow Arts Alliance) — the Nelsons bought Riverside Printing on May 1.
After growing up in Alaska, the Nelsons moved to the Methow Valley from Anchorage in 2013, when they bought the Rendezvous Huts business, but they have been long-time valley visitors, since Virginia’s parents have been part-time residents for a number of years. In college, Ben studied business and Virginia was an English major and has some design background, so ownership of Riverside Printing is a comfortable fit for their areas of expertise, especially when the print shop expands its design services.
Riverside Printing promises to “turn your ideas into products” and Virginia will be the face behind the print services, printing banners, posters, brochures, booklets, business cards, blueprints, and maps for local individuals and businesses. She will also offer design services, for those who need additional help with their envisioned-but-not-fully-realized projects. Virginia encourages any customers who have ideas for increased services to run those ideas by her, as the Nelsons are interested in eventually expanding the business.
That approach echoes the Thiels’ attitude: let the community needs help shape what the business offers. When the Thiels established and operated the two Daily Business locations (Twisp 1999 – 2011; Winthrop 2004 – 2011), they relied on community requests and ideas to drive offerings, after ordering some products that they — both coming from corporate backgrounds — couldn’t seem to move off the shelves. (Such as the giant box of inter-office memo envelopes. “We eventually gave those away,” says Jerome, laughing.)
Repeated requests for poster and banner printing and large-scale laminating prompted the Thiels to open Riverside Printing in 2004. “Hearing what the community wanted helped us mold this business,” says Jerome.
And what will the Thiels do with their newfound free time? “Put some energy into projects we’ve had on hold for a while,” says Jerome. “Some home projects, a few ideas for investments and opportunities.”
The Thiels are not moving away from the valley, says Jerome. “We’ve had fun defining what we can do with our expertise,” he says. “And we’ve learned a lot. Now we need to pause to work on some of our other ideas and plans.”
What, if anything, might change? Hours might be scaled back a bit, to accommodate the Nelsons’ desire to conform to their 3-year-old’s preschool schedule. The location, too, might change down the road. The Thiels, who retain ownership of the building, have put the space up for sale. When the building sells, the Nelsons anticipate moving to a slightly bigger space elsewhere in Winthrop.