Holyoke Celebrates Manufacturing
By John Appleton - The Republican (Springfield, MA)
HOLYOKE - It was a day to celebrate manufacturing, the old companies that caused this city to grow in the 19th century and the new ones, bucking economic trends by opening or moving in to the city over the past five years.
During yesterday's celebration of Manufacturers Day and the opening of the local Product Showcase 2005, Mayor Michael J. Sullivan called these industrial businesses, old and new, "the lifeblood of Holyoke."
J. Guy Gaulin, owner of Hitchcock Press, saw the event as an opportune time to launch his newest product, high-end note cards turned out with old-fashioned and rarely used letterpress printing as well as computerized photo-processing and Internet marketing. "We are taking a very, very old craft and combining it with new computer technology," Gaulin said.
"No one in the world produces cards like this. I am hoping this will be the big one," he said.  Sullivan had just finished telling his audience of mostly business owners that Manufacturers Day and the Product Showcase at Heritage State Park were ways "for the city to recognize the importance of these businesses and their employees to our community."  Holyoke has 160 manufacturing companies employing 5,300 people, which makes up 22 percent of the city's total employment.
"The entrepreneurial spirit can be seen in both old and new companies, and both contribute to the spirit of innovation, which makes Holyoke a great place to do business," Sullivan said.  Gaulin shares this sense of history and understands the need to modernize in order to compete in the business world.
In brief remarks at his first public showing of the 24 note cards featuring his own photography, Gaulin touched on the 500-year history of letterpress printing, his own 50-plus years at the craft, its near elimination by offset lithography, and his dreams of selling cards through www.hitchcockpress.com.
"A lot of people appreciate the beauty of letterpress printing," Gaulin said.  The note cards feature photographs Gaulin took, some from an exciting offshore sailing trip, some of rural scenes. They are printed on high quality, textured paper in a way that presses the image into the paper, giving a three-dimensional look. "This is very difficult to do," Gaulin said.  Hitchcock Press usually works in niche markets and has a work force of about 20 people, Gaulin said.