Straddling the heart of Connecticut and also encompassing the rich business terrain of New York City and Boston, commercial printers once dotted the greater North Haven area. In North Haven itself, large commercial printers operated near the intersection of State Street and Sackett Point Road.
“They started falling away,” said one local photographer and designer of the companies specializing in printed materials that were once a part of the North Haven business landscape.
“The computer came in. Everything’s online. You source on the Internet,” said the professional, who now uses commercial sources for the printed material he creates that are located throughout this country and beyond.
Although two tenants now occupy the structure left behind when Van Dyck, a commercial printing company, closed at 370 State St. roughly 10 years ago, the 17.7 acre-site left behind by its neighbor USA, although sold to a New Jersey broker, remains unfilled.
Behemoths emerged to claim much of the business in printed material that remained, among them FedEx Office, part of a global brand that has a location on Washington Avenue.
And the printing firm —this, on Sackett Point Road--anchors its business in imprinted promotional material rather than the brochures and catalogs on which the commercial printer historically thrived, with , another small screen printing firm, still on State after 44 years.
“That was slowly dwindling over the years,” said Dominic Liuzzi, whose family owns the popular State Street business , of the printing business that functioned as Northeast Graphics Inc. before joining Quebecor. “Most of the guys were stuck on the presses,” he said of any traffic he had received from it. “They couldn’t really leave.”
Still, he noted, “A good 20 people came every day.” And Liuzzi thought of Circuit-Wise Inc., which was located on Sackett Point Road and also closed a number of years ago.
“That probably hurt us more than anything,” Liuzzi said of the manufacturer’s departure.
“It used to be really popping,” Liuzzi said of the State Street and Sackett Point Road area that surrounds the gourmet cheese shop. The family business, where he began to work as a teenager, opened on State Street in 1981.
“Yes, and no,” he said of whether the changing face of State Street in the area immediate to him has harmed his business. “We’re not doing as many sandwiches, but we do dinners. It balances out.”
In fact, he said he has maxed out the space his gourmet shop and deli occupies on State Street. As for Luizzi’s wholesale company, he said the family had moved it to Hamden from North Haven four years ago.
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Liuzzi observed that there are real prospects for growth. But while health and medical facilities are taking hold less than a mile away, they are not a part of his immediate neighborhood.
The relative newcomers there comprise a diverse group. None are industrial and, certainly, none are printers. One commercial business and a highly touted nonprofit are now among the newer kids on the block.
The commercial business is furniture specialists H. H. Perkins, which relocated to the former Van Dyck building from Universal Drive. The , which moved its office from New Haven and its warehouse from West Haven to the neighborhood two years ago.
What pleases the Bank’s director Janet Alfano is the space the Bank gained, and the fact that the semi-trailers that deliver its supplies have such easy access.
“It’s so much nicer here,” Alfano said.