Longtime engraving business closing after 80 years in GR

Posted at 7:44 AM, Aug 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-07 09:13:14-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — After nearly a century in business, the ink is about to run dry for a beloved West Michigan print shop.

Rose Engraving, 2222 28th St. SE in Grand Rapids, is closing Friday after 80 years in business.

"Rose started in what we can tell about 1940 it was downtown at the time, it had roughly about one-hundred employees and it was pretty much the only way to print things," Aaron Muller, owner of Rose Engraving.

From creating President Gerald R. Ford`s funeral invitations to producing birthday cards for Samuel L. Jackson, Rose Engraving has had a long history with a unique process.

"This is a very special printing shop," Muller said. "We don`t have anything digital, everything is manually operated and it is a technique of printing that is over 200 years old."

FOX 17 paid him a visit during his final week to see what the process looks like.

"So what I`m doing now is impressing the cards, the cards get impressed upside down and so once the ink hits the plate, the plate comes forward and we engage the press. When the press comes down it actually hits with such force that it bonds the ink to the paper and then i just set it to dry," Muller said.

A lost form of art, falling to the digital age.

"It has been hard to market rose and one of the reasons we are closing is because acquiring customers is very difficult, most people would not know what this is the process or the name of it," he said.

"There is almost no printers left and I believe rose might be the last one in Michigan or the last of just a couple," Muller said, who is still hoping to leave his impression, even if it`s in a smaller way

"So Rose will close, but we might end up utilizing the equipment to start a local greeting card company since the equipment is already in place, since I already know how to do it, it would be a shame to waste that and with greeting cards at $5 I can make greeting cards for $2," he said.