In response to a frequent need expressed by local neighborhood and business associations, commercial printing company Morel Ink, formerly known as Witham & Dickey, has opened a retail, quick-print and postal-services space in its building at 4824 N.E. 42nd Ave.
A grand opening celebration for the space, dubbed Morel Quick!, is scheduled for Friday, May 15, and customers will have the opportunity to win prizes from Old Salt Marketplace, Rocket Pizza, Miss Zumstein Bakery & Coffee Shop and Rose’s Ice Cream.
According to Michael DeMarco, district manager for the Our 42nd Ave. neighborhood prosperity initiative, the move should prove popular with people who live, work and shop in the community.
“In the extensive community engagement surveys we’ve conducted, better access to postal and printing services has been a consistent request,” DeMarco said. “The new shop not only meets that need, but it creates a stronger connection between community members and a great community business.
The new facility will offer short-run print and copy services as well as mailbox rentals, postal and shipping supplies, stamps and office supplies. Customers with larger jobs can take advantage of the print, mailing and fulfillment services offered by Morel Ink and its partners.
Bill Dickey and Matt Witham started their company in 1995 and moved the business to its current spot in 2005.
“Our roots run deep,” Dickey said. “Ten years ago, when we arrived, the 42nd Avenue neighborhood was bleak. Over the years, with the help of the neighborhood prosperity initiative and some dedicated community members, the area has really been blossoming.”
Dickey believes Morel Quick!’s location in the heart of 42nd Avenue’s emerging business district will help realize a broader vision of a walkable business district that provides basic amenities.
“Since we had an underutilized portion of our building, we decided to loop back to our starting point, reopen a quick-print shop and add the components of a postal center and a shipping center,” Dickey said. “Our new manager, Scott Piel, is a seasoned professional with a wealth of experience.”
According to Piel, working for Dickey has been a dream come true.
“Bill is so committed to his customers and to his community,” Piel said. “There isn’t anything that I wouldn’t do for Bill.
Morel Ink is an environmentally-aware business and has established a reputation for providing good living wages while demonstrating that good business is good for everybody.
Dickey has played a key role in the emergence of the 42nd Avenue business district and has established a reputation as a “fixer” when problems arise. When the Cully Farmers Market was threatened with closure this season, Dickey stepped up – with his networking efforts and with his pocketbook – and saved the day.
“Bill is awesome. He literally has saved the Cully Farmers Market. His appreciation and his consciousness for making this event happen has really shifted the energy in our community and made a huge difference for our project. Multiple hands are getting involved now on a substantial level and that’s all thanks to Bill’s efforts,” said Myo DeMayo, the market’s manager.
“These things are important to me,” Dickey said. “This is my neighborhood and it reflects on my business. It reflects on me. I’m willing to roll up my sleeves and do whatever it takes to get it done.”
Over the years, Dickey has been a reliable advocate and strong supporter of nonprofit groups and organizations within the gay community and for progressive causes. Basic Rights Oregon, Equity Foundation, Q Center, ACLU of Oregon, the Oregon Humane Society and the Portland City Club have all benefited from Dickey’s enthusiasm and generosity. Dickey is also an important player in Democratic politics and has donated significant time, energy and capital to Democratic candidates and the Democratic party.
Furthering Morel’s imprint on the neighborhood, Witham and Dickey have begun the process of donating the parcel of land in front of their building for use as a community square. The project will deploy a bioswale in front of and behind the former bowling alley to offset the water usage of the printing company as well as the laundromat and the Spare Room Restaurant and Lounge that also occupy the building.
The public space has been tentatively named “Morgan Square,” in honor of neighborhood icon Eddie “The Weatherman” Morgan, who died tragically in 1995. Arnoud Van Sisseren, a consultant with Our 42nd Ave., will facilitate the community design process for the project and an idea board will be posted in front of the Morel building on Friday, May 29, to gather community input.
Morel Ink offers printing, direct mail, promotional products and signs. They are a union shop and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The Morel family of businesses includes Homestead Greeting Cards, Ashcreek Media and ADCO Commercial Printing & Graphics. For more information, visit morelink.biz or call 503-736-0111.