Have you heard of Aardvark Letterpress? What about McManus & Morgan? Sadly, I’m sure you may not have. We haven’t and everyone we’ve mentioned the names to haven’t really either. The two are independently owned family run business BFFs, located next door to each other in Westlake. One is an independent paper brand, the other is a printing press–both are doing just OK, in light of financial hardship and advances in technology.
The two are the subject of a short documentary that details their processes, history, and what it’s like carrying on these old methods in 2011 (which, as you can imagine, is a very hard task). Aardvark is still taking lots of orders and functioning quite well for a press that uses 600 year old printing methods (case in point, they recently printed Bill Clinton’s birthday invitations). McManus & Morgan, though, will go days without a sale and have to borrow power from Aardvark because they can’t pay their electrical bill.
These two businesses are some of a handful in town that provide the services that they do in the way that they do. Sure, if you need a business card made or paper for printing, you think of going to go to Fed-Kinko’s or Staples or even online because it’s easy and cheap. The quality is OK–not amazing–but people still do it because they’re in a pinch or that’s all they know. This documentary gives a face to people who work locally and are directly affected by those thoughts and actions.
It’s sad to think about; however, they have a really great spirit and demeanor about them. The documentary, directed by Ben Proudfoot, does an excellent job of sharing these people’s works and calls attention to the fact that they are slipping away because we didn’t know they existed or we no longer are able to use them. Watch the video and, if you are in the market for paper or printing, check out McManus & Morgan and Aardvark.