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Family Owned Business Awards

Union Press Printing

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Diane Rizzo, left, and Chrissy Grimes. | DBT PHOTO BY LUIGI CIUFFETELLI

Founded: 1935

Generations: Two

Employees: 9

Earth-shattering historical events don’t seem to thwart Union Press Printing.

The family-owned business, which opened in Wilmington’s Little Italy community in 1935, has survived a world war, a cold war, recession, a global pandemic and a fast-evolving digital landscape.

Anthony and Joe Bove, the sons of Italian immigrants, co-founded Union Press when they were just 16 and 19. The brothers printed letterheads, business cards and forms, stationery and envelopes, building up the business by word of mouth.

But the business truly became a family affair when World War II arrived.

Joe left Wilmington to fight and Anthony stayed behind to run the Union Street storefront alone. After Anthony joined his brother overseas, their father took over the business, subcontracting out jobs while the brothers’ wives helped when needed and Dot, their sister, handled the billing.

The brothers survived the war and after they returned, Joe’s son Joe and Anthony’s sons John and Rob began working there part-time. Anthony’s daughter, Chrissy Grimes joined Union Press in 1981. As Joe and Anthony grew older, it came time for the next generation to take over.

Forty years later and now the majority owner, Grimes has been working there ever since.

“It’s great,” Grimes said, “Someday I may actually retire, but I love working for myself.”

Union Press has changed and adapted in the 85 years since its founding: In the 1950s, the printing operation moved from Union Street to a building the Bove family built on West 8th Street. And as the technological revolution boomed, the family kept pace with change, expanding from primarily letterhead and offset printing to digital machines and offering new services such as promotional items and graphic design.

Union Press continues to be part of the community through its charity. The family has collected canned goods for Philabundance and donated to several organizations, including the Sunday Breakfast Mission, Nativity Prep and Coalition for American Veterans. They also step up to provide printing services for small business owners.

“The best part of being a family-owned operation is we help each other figure out how we’re

 going to grow,” Grimes said, “And just being with the family a lot, laughing. I’m hoping the next generation can take over and grow it even more.”

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