Eight Days a Week: Boulder’s high-tech hometown copy shop celebrates 40 years
By Emma Castleberry
The transformation of a neighborhood general store into a high-tech imaging and copy center isn’t as complicated as one might think. Boulder’s hometown copy shop, Eight Days a Week, celebrates its 40th anniversary this September. The development of the store over the past 40 years has been focused on one goal: serving the Boulder community.
The first color copier
In 1976, Cheryl and Sam Sussman opened Eight Days a Week as a general store. The store’s name (and decorations) are an homage to the couple’s love of The Beatles. Back then, the store sold fresh-squeezed orange juice, deli sandwiches, the Sunday New York Times, and the services of a single, black-and-white copy machine.
“We got the concept from having lived on the east coast for a long time,” Cheryl says. “There were a lot of neighborhood general stores and most of them had a copier as part of their services.”
In 1977, just a year after the Sussmans opened Eight Days a Week, Xerox manufactured the first color copier and contacted Cheryl and Sam. The Boulder business that was planning to lease one of the copiers from Xerox had suffered a gas explosion and wouldn’t be able to take the machine. Their loss was the Sussmans’ gain: Eight Days a Week became home to Boulder’s first color copier.
A Changing Customer
Sam Sussman observed a gradually changing customer base coming to use the new machine in the general store.
“Initially, the color copier was a very artistic machine, and then it became a business consultant’s machine,” he says. “It grew from there.”
As it grew, Cheryl says the store adapted to better serve its customers and give them a more professional place to gather.
“The environment of the general store, with a deli and all that, wasn’t really conducive to the customers – business people who wanted to do proposals and that kind of thing,” she says.
For a brief time in 1980, there were two Eight Days a Week stores: the original general store and a new copy center on Walnut Street. The Sussmans sold the general store and Eight Days a Week became exclusively an imaging and copy center, which eventually moved from Walnut to their current location at 840 Pearl Street.
Knobs and Motorcycle Helmets
Ever since this shift, Eight Days a Week has continued to pioneer new printing technology and provide state-of-the-art equipment for the Boulder community. In 2010, the company was the first to make the eco-friendly move to latex printing technology, which uses water-based inks instead of toxic, solvent-based inks. In 2013, Eight Days a Week became the proud new owners of the latest in cutting-edge print machinery: the Makerbot Replicator 2, a 3-dimensional printer.
The Makerbot constructs physical objects out of 3-D design files that can be found all over the Internet. But, to expand the customer’s options even further, Eight Days a Week also purchased a 3-D scanner: the GO!Scan by Creaform.
In terms of scanning, there are almost no limitations. The scanner is a portable unit that can be moved around to scan all sides of an object of any size. One can even scan a broken part, fix the object file, and print another part that’s good-as-new! The Makerbot printer at Eight Days a Week is more limited by size and material (it only prints in plastic). But once a customer has 3D scans of their object, they can send those files out to a 3-D printer that prints in a different substance, such as metal. The possibilities are endless.
“We really had no idea what the marketplace was going to be when we got the equipment,” Cheryl says. “In a way, we still don’t, because things just come in that we never imagined we’d be doing.”
The 3-D printing projects that walk through the doors of Eight Days a Week are as varied as they are unpredictable. One of the store’s first projects using this technology was for a customer with an antique stove. One of the stove knobs had broken and the part was no longer manufactured. Eight Days a Week scanned one of the functional knobs and the Makerbot printed an exact replica for use in place of the broken piece. Just recently, Eight Days a Week 3-D scanned several motorcycle helmets for a law firm to use in court. The Sussmans say another common customer is artists who want to print various sizes of their sculptures and work on them digitally. They’ve even printed drones.
The business’s adventures in 3D scanning and printing are shared on the Eight Days Hack/Fab blog.
Customer Success & Charitable Support
Companies of all sizes trust Eight Days a Week with their marketing needs. Eight Days did a range of projects for businesses attending the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah, such as rollup banners, brochures, and postcards. The company also provides their services to local Boulder businesses such as Celestial Seasonings, Noosa Yogurt, and Bhakti Chai.
A number of recognizable designs were born in the Eight Days a Week copy center. The designer of the Horizon milk cow printed some of her first designs in Eight Days a Week and the restaurant chain Noodles and Company used Eight Days to create their proposal for venture capital. Boulder-born soda company Izze was an Eight Days a Week customer until they were purchased by Pepsi. The Sussman’s don’t regret the loss of business when their customers experience growth and success – on the contrary, they’re happy for them.
“Our biggest competition is Fortune 100 companies coming in and buying our clients,” Cheryl says. “It’s a competition of success. It’s neat to see how that happens.”
In addition to supporting their customers, the Sussmans are committed to serving local charities with their small business.
“One of the things we liked about the business and one of the reasons we’re still in it is that we’re able to contribute to the non-profit and public school community via printing,” Cheryl says.
Eight Days a Week supports the arts by providing discounted and in-kind printing to groups such as E-town, Open Studios, Colorado Music Festival, and History of Visual Arts Boulder (HOVAB), among others. Eight Days also contributes services to Realities for Children Boulder County, Attention Homes, and Bridge House.
“Nonprofits need printing. They need signage and marketing and fliers,” Cheryl says. “And we get advertising from it. It feels good to be a part of the community in that way.”
On the afternoon of Thursday, October 13, Cheryl and Sam Sussman invite the community to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Eight Days A Week. The celebration will be held at the store and food, drinks, and music by a former employee’s local band will be provided.
Even if you can’t make the party, Eight Days a Week has a high-tech imaging center worth a visit. From a project as small as a business card to an fantastical 3D printing dream, Eight Days a Week can provide you with modern technology and old fashioned customer service, all in one store.
“People come here when they want to have attention paid to their work and have somebody be discerning about it,” Cheryl says. “Some people just want to get it done quick and dirty but that’s not our biggest customer. Our biggest customer is someone who cares about forming a relationship with their printer.”
Get to know your neighborhood printer. Check out the Eight Days website at www.8days.com or visit the store at 840 Pearl Street (entrance on 9th).
Published to the Boulder Daily Camera on September 19, 2016.