I’m regularly flummoxed by demands from investment services, medical providers, magazine billing offices, travel agents, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Social Security, banks, travel visas, IRAs, auto insurance and real estate offices requesting endless document trails be signed and immediately returned.
At one time I tried operating a dedicated phone/fax line and toyed with adding a scanner to my minimal computer package. Fortunately I recognized the writing on the wall over many botched copies.
So how did I escape fretting over these intimidating but required tasks?
My savior is Copy Works, a heavenly location that gladly transforms all puzzling paperwork demands into understandable, neatly wrapped gift packs that are promptly dispatched to their proper destinations. An added bonus is the joyful opportunity to play with the universe’s cutest collection of entertaining wind-up toys. My favs are the turtle, bat and crab!
Copy Works is the compact domain of Theresa Burnside whose zany personality and problem solving abilities I thoroughly admire. Consulting with Theresa is always a pleasure even when it involves the subtle demands that financial reporting issues often create.
Finding Theresa’s shop isn’t easy since it’s almost invisibly located in the rear of the nondescript 150 Scott Lane address, in what I’ve always called the Gordon Graham building and storage units nearly across from Red’s Auto Glass. Maneuver slowly through a crater-pocked driveway to the southeast corner and Copy Works appears.
As is this column’s custom — with my favorite Thanksgiving holiday celebration right around the corner — it’s fitting to dedicate this pre-holiday column to a person and operation for whom I’m thankful. And my wife, Jean and I are eternally indebted for Mrs. Burnside and her reliable Copy Works-facility full of Xeroxes and other graphic production equipment.
‘In with the copiers’
After a variety of retail clerking experiences, in 1988, Theresa joined Chet and Barbara at their family’s popular Knobe’s Office Supply operation.
“In that business everybody did everything in the store but somehow I got shoved in with the copiers,” Theresa remembered.
Knobe’s had the area’s first public fax machine which meant that her department became a thriving location. Despite the current popularity of e-mail, facsimile transmissions are still demanded to forward medical records and many government documents due to their much better security.
Unfortunately the onset of medical issues played a major part in the closing of Knobe’s in 2004. But the seasoned skipper at the helm of the copy department decided not to change course. After a remodeling effort in Grand Teton Plaza, Copy Works re-emerged in the rear of Jackson Mattress briefly until opening in 2005 in the current Scott Lane quarters.
Theresa admits to “mortgaging her soul and wrangling a small business loan,” for her new enterprise which teamed with Cindi and Cheri’s then adjacent Jones Boys Printers.
Every time I visit Theresa’s business I silently marvel at how she keeps her electronic menagerie of complicated technological color printing and transmitting equipment humming along so smoothly.
“Everything’s on a lease and each unit comes with a usually brilliant service technician. These repair guys riding their white horses can gallop into my shop usually within 24 hours,” Theresa said. “Then it’s problem solved.”
Despite being in an obscure location, certain trades require Copy Works’ specialized services — lots of it — and repeatedly. These include architects, builders and attorney offices from which personnel are routinely delivering and picking up construction drawings, mechanical, electrical and landscaping plans, legal briefs and pounds of detailed documents.
Despite being exceptionally efficient, Theresa counts on her long time friend/assistant Suzanne Richards and her granddaughter, Kailie, to dig the shop out from under the endless crush of printed paper products.
“I don’t do much advertising,” Theresa admits, “so when a new private customer walks in, I know they’ve gotten here by a local referral. Service is my natural way of working.”
‘They get what they need’
Theresa and her family struggled mightily during recent years when her mechanic husband, Jimmy, suffered a work-related accident that would ultimately end his career as a super tuner of motorcycles, snow machines and anything else that required extra horsepower squeezed out of a small engine. Throughout this nightmarish medical ordeal Theresa learned and worked with doctors, therapists and dozens of medical professionals all around Wyoming and Idaho while juggling her primary business.
As usual I was in awe at how she managed to keep her life’s juggling act going while outwardly being her exceptionally kind self.
“I learned from that complicated experience to concentrate on things I can do something about. That’s my focus. And my focus … is here!” she said.
After witnessing the challenges the Burnsides managed to master and overcome, it was embarrassing for me to recognize my minor “emergency documents” are very minor. But amid the endless Christmas letters, memorial programs, almost every poster printed around Jackson and the carefully bound projects Copy Works turns out, the service is always the same: delightful.
This summer I awoke to the fact that more sophisticated boating and navigating equipment no longer arrives with workbooks/operations manuals.
“Look it up online,” quipped the Minn-Kota trolling motor and Helix GPS/Sonar by Humminbird electronics provider.
Wisely I forwarded Theresa at firstname.lastname@example.org JPEG copies of each device’s operating manual that I downloaded at home. It was like Christmas a few days later when I checked on my project.
“Here you go. Have fun operating these gadgets,” Theresa grinned, forking over two handsome, spiral-bound, plastic covered volumes that were detailed to the max.
“You always make a big deal out of our work around here,” Theresa frowned recently. “But you know, this isn’t exactly rocket science. Most of the time our customers may not get what they want … exactly, but they get what they need.”
And she’ll always be regional headquarters for all Rite In The Rain waterproof notebooks Jean and I endlessly utilize.
With Theresa at the controls her customers are always going to receive an added value that may appear in better paper, a counter with free candy in a jar and always, a great big smile.
And there’s always a few little windups to entertain all ages.