OSWEGO — Port City Copy Center has moved, again.
Owner Megan Pecora figures this is about the fifth or sixth time. Pecora was pretty happy in a nice spot she had on West Bridge Street next to Paura’s Liquor store. We all know what happened to that place. Poof. Smoke and water damage so bad she lost all of her equipment, and Pecora has a lot of equipment. Unfortunately, she didn’t have a lot of insurance, or at least not enough to cover the loss.
”There was just so much smoke and water over everything,” she said of the fire’s aftermath, “there was just no salvaging it. Insurance covered what they could, but ultimately the damage was more than I was insured for, so I’m still paying that off.” Paying it off because she just went out and got herself an entirely new set of equipment. And did I mention she has a lot of equipment? Big, expensive equipment.
She also ran her business for a short while out of a place in Midtown Plaza, but then moved to a spot she really liked on East First Street attached to the Press Box. However, it wasn’t long before destiny was calling her to her present location.
“I liked it there a lot,” she said of the Press Box building, “but then, this opportunity showed itself, and I had the opportunity to buy the building, and that’s kind of what I always wanted to do, have control, do what I want with the space. This building was up for sale a couple years ago, but I wasn’t really in a position to buy the building then, and it was like, ‘I missed out on a good one.’ But then it came back around, and I hopped on it, like, ‘I don’t want to give this up.’”
Her place, at 115 W. Third St. in Oswego, is called a copy center. So, I’m figuring I’m going to walk in, see maybe two copiers, a big one and a small one, and a lot of paper, and that’s about it.
The place is so filled with every sort of printing machine known to man that the copiers are actually the last thing you notice. They’re almost buried beneath every other impressive machine in sight. And that’s just the front half of the first floor. The basement is an excellent, dry, cool, and very large workshop filled with even more machines. The second floor, which I did not see, is an office, and I’d bet dollars to donuts there are machines up there too. So, once again, as usual, I was wrong. This is hardly just a copy center. This isn’t like going to the post office, putting a quarter into their rather ancient copier, and getting a mediocre version of your original out of the thing if you’re lucky. This is a printing establishment with absolutely everything in it but an actual printing press. Pecora can print you just about anything you can imagine from the simplest black ink resumé to a 42-inch-wide by any length you need, full-color, archival, fine art print on any number of fine art papers or canvas.
Pecora, though, describes her main business as color printing, flyers, posters, invitations, hand bills, resource books, color copies, color prints, brochures, T-shirts, and “pretty much anything,” which also includes blueprints. She prints a lot of blueprints. She even has a special blueprint printer. Of course. She also does design work, makes and binds books, prints envelopes (on, of course, a dedicated envelope printer), prints banners and even prints color artwork on potholders in case you were wondering.
So, I think you get the point about the equipment. What I want to make a point about now is Pecora. Here is a woman who started out about 10 years ago working at Staples and fell in love with the work, so much so, that she decided to go out on her own. She already knew something about business, having a bachelor’s degree in business administration. But there’s an awful lot to know about printing, more than 99% of all people realize. And Pecora taught it to herself.
“Lots of YouTube and then lots of just really playing around with the programs and listening to what customers wanted and figuring out how to do it” is how she described her printing education.
And then there were the multiple moves. And then there was the fire and the loss of all her equipment. And still, the determination to go into debt and buy all that equipment again and start again in a new location and then another location and now, the confidence to buy her own building where she can truly be the master of her own fate. Those are extremely admirable qualities.
Right now, her hours are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. or 7-10 a.m. by appointment.
“If people can’t come in 11 to 3, or they don’t feel comfortable being around people just yet with the whole COVID thing,” she said, “they can come in a little bit earlier.”
For those who want to submit orders online, check out her website at www.portcitycopycenter.com where you can even upload large digital files to her easily. And lastly, let me say this. You won’t meet many people nicer or friendlier than -Pecora. She has a ready smile and a ready laugh. She’s smart, very good with an amazing number of computer programs and machines, and seems very committed to making her customers smile right along with her.
The world is changing. For years and years and years, all the way back to Benjamin Franklin and even before him, printing was the domain of men. It’s great to see a young woman make her mark in that field. Pecora has a lot to be proud of, and Port City Copy Center has a lot to offer.