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Griffin Publishing prints The Fig Tree and Resource Directory

George Griffin
Relationships are the beauty of running a small business, said George Griffin, Jr., The Fig Tree’s printer.

For George Griffin, Jr., who started Griffin Publishing, Inc., in January 2002, relationships are the beauty of working in a small business.

He appreciates that Fig Tree editor Mary Stamp feels the same. 

Although she now sends camera-ready copy for each issue digitally and could mail payments by mail, she personally delivers checks to pay for Griffin Publishing’s services, so she can talk with the staff.

Previously, she brought camera-ready black-and-white copy, printed on her 11 x 17 laser printer. 

“With computers and cell phones, we are losing the personal interaction we need in society,” George commented.

“When we began going directly from the digital document to the plate, it improved the print quality,” he said. 

George Griffin Sr., was publishing Nickel Nik in 1990 when he started Spokane Print & Mail.  George Sr. sold it in 1998, and his son, George Jr., continued to work  with Lee Enterprises until October 2001, after that shop moved to Airway Heights.

The Fig Tree published through Spokane Print and Mail beginning about 1996 and shifted to Griffin Publishing, at 2210 N. Dollar, soon after it opened.

When it began in 1984, The Fig Tree had the Spokane Valley News Herald set type and print the newspaper.  Mary used the light table of the Catholic Diocese’s newspaper, The Inland Register to paste galleys on layout sheets.   

“Cutting and pasting was literally what we did to make the galleys fit,” said Mary, who did that with the help of Holy Names Sister Bernadine Casey.

After the Valley Herald closed in the early 1990s, Mary took the pages to Cheney Free Press, which prepared the photos, until she was able to do that work on the computer.

Mary also had a darkroom in her home to print photos until she did all that work digitally.

In 1987, Mary bought a MacIntosh computer and Pagemaker software.  She designed pages on the computer and printed proofs on 11 x 17 paper at KXLY and then at The Spokane Journal of Business, until she purchased an 11 x 17 printer in 1996.

George, born in Escondido, Calif., said his father became a printer in Oceanside when he left the Navy.  They moved to Colville, where his father worked for the Statesman-Examiner.  

After George graduated from high school in 1986, his father began working at Thoen Publishing in Spokane, and George began helping bundle print jobs, run the press and do camera work.

Bev  Downing, Griffin Publishing
Bev Downing, prepress manager, prepared digital acopy for plates.

His father partnered with Don Lidke, who ran Spokane Mailing, and they formed Spokane Print & Mail.

“When I started, we used a typesetter to set type,” said George, who also misses the art of doing full color separations to prepare the plates for printing.

“Printing is an art and craftsman skill,” he said. “It is in my blood.” 

He enjoys the mechanical side of printing, but as the business owner and manager, he also needs to sit at a desk, give quotes, do payroll, pay bills and do taxes.

The business side is important so the business continues, he said.

Sometimes, given that his strength is in the mechanical and technical areas, he will run presses, filling in for the print shop staff, often working evenings and weekends.

“With digital media, some print publications are declining, but The Inlander and Outdoor Monthly are increasing circulation,” George observed.

“Especially in the economic crisis and with government cuts in the last four to six years, I have sought to keep costs down, so we can keep prices down for our customers,” he said, noting that digital helps reduce costs.  “Mailing costs, however, continue to rise.”

Griffin Publishing prints a multitude of weekly, monthly and quarterly publications.

Like The Fig Tree, Spokane Print and Mail started on nothing. 

“I appreciate being part of The Fig Tree, and I hope I help contribute to its success, keeping the quality up and the costs down,” he said.

From working with his father, George learned that he “needed to give the business my all and expect it to be my life,” he said. 

“We do not succeed in small businesses without hard work, long hours and stress,” George said.

For information, call 534-3625 or email


Relationships are the beauty of running a small business, said George Griffin, Jr., The Fig Tree’s printer.

Copyright © May 2014 - The Fig Tree