Reach your customers through advertising, direct mail, printing and promotional products. Through our other divisions, Penny Lane Printing and Penny Lane Promotional Products, we offer a variety of ways for you to stay in touch with your customers and grow your business. And you'll love the service and personal attention our talented staff provides.
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In 1948, Roger and Jane Harrison, a young couple new to the Avon Community, began publishing a weekly shopping guide out of a garage on Temple Street. During its humble beginnings, probably less than 10 pages were painstakingly produced each week with pen-and-ink drawings and text. Roger’s brother, Ted, worked in production, and his wife, Joyce, eventually helped as business and circulation grew.
In 1954, the Penny Saver had grown enough to require more production space. Circulation was expanded to include not only Avon, but Caledonia and Geneseo, as well. The Harrisons purchased a home at 68 High Street in Avon. Behind the residence was a cinder block building that became the next office and production area for the Penny Saver. Having more space, the Harrisons added an offset press. There was also a dedicated production area, a “composition” area where ads were designed and composed, and a darkroom for producing negatives where the images were then “burned” onto aluminum plates. In keeping with the “family” tradition, along with Ted and Joyce, Clare Harrison, wife of Roger’s cousin, Dean, was a pillar of our composition and typesetting department for many years.
In 1955, Roger and Jane welcomed a baby boy, Steve (James Stephen) to the family. Both Steve and Kim grew up with the family business – living with deadlines and the smell of negative developer and ink firmly ingrained in their memories.
We take great pride in these many years of publishing and have never missed an issue! The dedicated employees and our many relatives, friends and neighbors helped in so many ways during those early days to produce the Penny Saver each week, often coming to our rescue during snowstorms, power outages and other calamities. Their contributions of time and talents helped us grow our business to what it has become today.
As the Penny Saver's circulation and number of advertisers grew, we were looking for new, better and more efficient ways to produce a weekly shopping guide. Also, the need for even more space became evident, so in 1960 we made another move to Genesee Street in Avon. After the typesetting was done, the headlines were cut off the strip, run through a hot glue machine then pasted carefully on the page. The paragraphs of print from the Varityper usually could be glued down as one whole piece. We had “cut books” that provided pictures of groceries, cars, furniture and other miscellaneous items that might be advertised. Borders around the ads were usually drawn with rulers or t-squares and with black markers of varying thickness. The classified (reader) ads were typed in strips with letters at the end of each ad indicating what edition it would run in and also the “cut-off” date. These were cut up and carefully pasted on the pages alongside the display ads according to the edition they would run in. This was usually one of the many jobs Jane took care of each week.
In the mid 60’s, we moved again, to the other side of Genesee Street into what used to be the “Red & White” Grocery store. This gave us 4,000 sq. ft., practically double the space from where we were before and new presses were purchased. Faster and with better print quality, these presses could produce 10,000 sheets in one hour, a big advance at the time. Our delivery day was Wednesday, so Tuesdays became our “long days and nights,” with the composition department staying until the paper was complete and ready to print. This eventually became known as “pizza night” for all of us. During this time, Kim began working in the composition department while Steve learned the production part of the business. Tuesday nights could stretch into the wee hours of Wednesday morning as our production (basement) crew would work until the final route was finished. Our circulation during the 60’s was 37,000 which was comprised of 3 Edition areas: North (Caledonia, LeRoy, Bergen, Byron, Scottsville), South (Avon, Geneseo, Livonia, Lakeville, Hemlock) and Rush-Henrietta.
Many people have asked about our Penny Saver logo, including the white horse. “Penny Saver” is a generic term. There are many Penny Savers (also sometimes called Shoppers) across the country; no one has a copyright on the name. However, to set themselves apart each Penny Saver can identify with their own individual name, for example: Mt. Morris Shopper or Warsaw Penny Saver. In the late 60’s, we worked with an ad agency which produced and sold us our horse logo as you know it today.
In 1982, Steve and his Mom found a printing press that would fit our production needs. There was only one problem: it wouldn’t fit in our current production space. Now, we were on the move again. We doubled our space from 4000 to 8000 square feet with our move to the Avon Plaza on East Main Street. By this time, Steve and Kim were taking on more management positions – Steve was making decisions on circulation, suppliers and the many parts that go in to operating a business. He also worked in advertising sales both as a sales representative and as head of that department. Basically, Steve acquired the knowledge of all the “moving parts” from sales to production and the entire process of publishing a weekly shopping guide. Kim, along with still designing and creating ads, learned the camera and part of production as well as taking on many office duties such as weekly payroll. Being a weekly deadline business, this would sometimes throw a kink into our production schedule, but we always made it work. One of the great improvements with our new press is that we could now print in color! One color each week – it’s called “spot color”. We would select the color keeping in mind holidays, seasons of the year or special events.
During this time, Jerry Rolison, owner and publisher of the Mt. Morris Shopper, approached Steve and asked if the Genesee Valley Penny Saver would become part of a group of papers known as the “4-County” Papers. These papers– Mt. Morris Shopper, Perry Shopper, Warsaw Penny Saver and Dansville Penny Saver– had sales agreements between them which allowed for each of the individual papers to “sell into” the other papers, thereby increasing their own weekly advertisers and giving advertisers greater circulation. We joined the 4-County group and an added benefit for us was that they asked us to print their papers each week for them. We were able to work these printings into our own GVPS schedule. Eventually, the Dansville Penny Saver pulled out of the group, and we began our Dansville edition of the GVPS. At this point, we had also begun a Batavia edition, so naturally, our circulation, as well as our staff, continued to grow.
Another part of our business was doing print jobs – such as tickets, stationery and other small jobs– on a small press. We were also approached by the purchasing agent for RIT about printing their course booklets, or catalogs for the students. He had noticed our magazine format and saddle stitched Penny Savers and thought this would be easier for the students rather than the newspaper format they were using. A long time relationship was formed with RIT, and eventually the U of R, St. John Fisher, Nazareth, MCC and Hobart-William Smith colleges came also aboard. e had a full schedule, and once knew again, not enough space!
In 1993, we redesigned our business structure and began Penny Lane Printing, a sister corporation to the Genesee Valley Penny Saver.
Although we had been doing printing up until then, Penny Lane Printing gave us the opportunity to market ourselves as a premier source of all things printed. We pride ourselves on our talented Creative Team who use
their expertise to incorporate your ideas into dynamic designs for every facet of Penny Lane as well as our Penny Saver. Penny Lane Promotional
Products is our division that can provide you with thousands of different specialty items including t-shirts, banners, pens and business incentive awards, just to name a few.
Our next – and final - move was to our current location in East Avon in the early 90’s. This provided us with 14,000 sq. ft., almost doubling what we had in our Plaza location. This was it! Still, our business grew, and we realized the need for more typesetters, graphic designers and more equipment including a second printing press, bindery and inserting machines, and a system for shredding and recycling paper. The growth in our circulation area also warranted hiring more salespeople. Suddenly, we were crowded again. So, over the course of the 90’s and early in the 2000’s, we added on more square feet.
Our new, and final location grew from 14,000 sq. ft. to 27,000 sq. ft. as we added on to our building 5 different times! Our Production department, which takes up a large part of our building, produces approximately 147,000 of our own Genesee Valley Penny Savers and 30,500 other local Shoppers each week. Each press averages about 20,000 impressions per hour. The production of the papers uses about 25,000 lbs. of paper each week. Our newsprint comes to us in 1,000 lb. rolls and is shipped from mills in Canada.
We are very proud to say we are committed to recycling. A large shredder and bailing machine produces about 25,000 lbs. of scrap every three weeks. The 1,000 lb. bales of scrap are loaded into tractor trailers and returned to Canada where it is reproduced again as more paper. So, as you hold this Penny Saver in your hands, just think, you might have held some of it in your hands before. To print the quantity we do each week takes a large amount of ink, both black and color. We use approximately 7,000 gallons of black ink each year, which is shipped to us three times a year in tanker trucks and pumped into a 2,000 gallon holding tank. After the printing process, stacks of “signatures” (8 page sections of the paper) are loaded in page order into two Muller-Martini Saddle Stitchers. These machines collate, staple and trim our papers, at a rate of about 7,000 an hour to their finished size.