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Color Craft Printing equipment to be auctioned off

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- More than fifty years of a Charleston business' history and tons of printing equipment will be auctioned off Friday.

Auctioneers will sell about 150 items -- including five presses - starting at 10 a.m. at Color Craft Printing, at 3126 Seventh Ave. in Charleston. Doors will open at 8 a.m.

Color Craft Printing, formerly known as Miller Printing, closed over the summer after more than 50 years in business. Bob Thompson bought the company in 1999.

In 2006, while Thompson was building a house at Trace Fork, a four-ton steamroller fell onto his chest, paralyzing him. He was carrying his 6-year-old son on his lap at the time, but the boy escaped injury. Thompson has been confined to a wheelchair since the incident.

"I've not been able to be active in the business because of my limitations," Thompson said Thursday.

The business closed on Aug. 24.

The company's equipment has drawn interest from all over the world, said Marvin Schiff of Cleveland-based Rosen & Company, which is handling the auction with auctioneer Buddy Barton.

Schiff said businesses from places including India, Colombia, Canada and Great Britain have expressed interest in buying the equipment. Between 100 and 200 bidders are expected to bid either in person, by proxy or online, Schiff said.

The sale is not limited to printing professionals.

"We have lots of stuff that people can use that aren't in the printing industry, even holiday gifts," Schiff said.

Office furniture, two vans, forklifts, filing cabinets, computers, refrigerators, tools and toolboxes, cleaning supplies, and ladders are some of the other items that will be sold at auction.

A 68,000-pound Heidelberg six-color press will also be on the auction block.

"It's the Rolls-Royce in the printing industry," Schiff said. "They are the best, most reliable presses available in the industry."

Pre-sale estimates for that printing press are between $400,000 and $700,000. Thompson bought it for $1.4 million in 2003.

"It was almost too much machine for this market," he said.

Using the press, the business could get an order from a customer in the afternoon and have the order out in the mail the same evening, he said.

"Something that used to take all day to do, you can do it in a real short period with this machine." Thompson said.

Thompson said the most difficult part of closing the business was letting go of the employees. There were 11 when it closed, he said.

"They've made the company what it is," he said.

For more information about the auction, call 216-990-1831.

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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