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Central Point loses a ‘staple’ business

Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune Rick Bettenburg puts plates away inside his print shop in downtown Central Point.
Print Quick owners closing up shop after nearly four decades

After nearly four decades of running their downtown print shop at the corner of East Pine and Third streets, Print Quick owners Jan and Rick Bettenburg are trading long hours and almost a half century of keeping up with an ever-changing industry for grandchildren, golfing and stopping to smell the roses.

When the couple moved to Central Point — 37 years ago this month — the building that housed their shop was the long-vacant former home of Central Point City Hall. The footprint and metal base for old jail cells still flank one corner of the back room. Population, at the time, hovered around 5,200, and two-thirds of downtown storefronts were empty.

The Bettenburgs, who hailed from Minnesota, had ventured west at the bequest of Jan Bettenburg’s parents. Longtime print industry folk, Ana and Eugene Hopf moved to Southern Oregon in the early 1980s to semi-retire and run a mail-order label business.

“Her dad had been in printing since he was 13. Before he moved out here, he would travel all over to find the right spot to move his business. He loved California and Oregon, so eventually he decided on Southern Oregon,” Rich Bettenburg said on a recent visit.

“He was a real go-getter. He was from Richfield, Minnesota, and had started his business out of his basement. He had equipment stored in old warehouse buildings, chicken coops, every basement in two cities. They brought two semi-trailers worth of equipment here to Oregon.”

Some of the equipment still sat in the Central Point shop on a recent visit.

“When we had our first child, Alicia, in 1984, they were on the phone all the time saying, ‘You’ve got to come out here.’” Rick recalled.

“We were both from Minneapolis, and we always loved it when we came to visit. They even found the shop. They said, ‘We found you guys a great place to open a print shop, right in this little town called Central Point.”

While they started in a pre-internet era and worried about building a reliable clientele in a quiet town, the couple treated single-copy customers and 10,000-copy customers the same and invested their hearts into the town.

“When we moved in, two-thirds of the downtown storefronts were empty. Four years after we moved in, street construction almost killed off the rest. It almost closed us down for six weeks,” said Rick.

“But failure wasn’t an option. We got involved in the community and worked to make things better.”

Raising their two daughters, Alicia and Angela, the shop would amass a large following, and both husband and wife would immerse themselves in everything from volunteering for city government roles to bringing the competition for 10 consecutive years as parade float contenders in the Central Point Fourth of July festivities.

Their float entries ran the gamut from a Color Explosion-themed “Ink Spots” entry and the Flinstones “Wheel Print Anything” to their grand finale in 2003, a giant Mardi Gras-themed riverboat complete with bead tossing, jazz music and dancers.

An active chamber of commerce member, Rick served on the City Council and city budget and planning commissions. On the business front, print gigs evolved from paste up and shooting negatives to a nearly all-d`igital industry.

Jennifer Van Wettering, a Print Quick employee for eight years, said the mom-and-pop approach of the print shop was endearing to locals, and that announcement of the closure had attracted a steady stream of well-wishers with cards, cookies and farewells in recent weeks.

“Everyone has just loved them, and they’ve been here for so long. People were really heartbroken they were closing,” she said.

“A couple people made cakes. People brought us cookies and cards. Some have visited three or more times to say goodbye or tell stories. They really meant a lot to people.”

Central Point city Administrator Chris Clayton said the Bettenburgs had been a constant for the downtown for longer than he could remember.

“For decades, Rick and Jan Bettenburg have been ‘staples’ of the Central Point downtown business district and community,” Clayton said.

“The city of Central Point congratulates them on their retirement, but they will be missed.”

Andy Atkinson / Mil TribuneJan and Rick Bettenburg walk in front of their print shop in downtown Central Point.

Jan Bettenburg said the couple would miss visiting with customers and seeing the goings-on in downtown, but they were hopeful to see a new business into their corner shop.

“We have loved this corner. It really fit well for us. We could see everything going on, and we got to watch this town as it changed,” she said.

“It’s gonna take us a couple months to even get out of here, but we want to get it all cleaned up and ready for someone else to use. Hopefully we’ll find a good new partner for downtown Central Point. Someone else can get their start just like we did.”

Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com.