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The Source Unltd Print & Copy Shop

Opening Hours
Today: 1–4pm
331 East 9th Street
The Source Unltd Print & Copy Shop 1 Office Supplies East Village

With a chuckle, Santo Mollica told us that he and his wife began their small business after a mix-up with a psychedelic church and the fire department. Santo and Margaret had been living in the East Village since 1979, making a living at various odd jobs. In the evenings, they would host everything from concerts to magic shows in their apartment, until one evening, firemen showed up at their door. Neighbors had called about the raucous church nearby, but they showed up at Santo and Margaret's home by mistake and shut down their performance space, which technically violated city code. It was time to take on a project that was a little more official. Santo decided to centralize some of his odd jobs under one roof, and in 1982, the couple opened The Source Unltd Print & Copy Shop.

From its early days, their business “took on a life of its own.” Santo had been doing layouts for his friends in the arts and music world and taking them elsewhere to be printed. He then began to specialize in printing and copying at the Source, something almost unheard of at the time. Santo describes the evolution of The Source over the decades in a humble way, but it took a lot of ingenuity to keep up with the changing landscape of the East Village and the rapid pace of technology. Initially specializing in layout and design, Santo and Margaret learned to convert VHS tapes to DVDs and cassettes to CDs. Today they do a lot of business online in addition to printing stickers and business cards, creating custom hardwood stamps, scanning, binding, laminating, and selling everything from batteries to sidewalk chalk.

Though Santo is always adapting his shop and adding new items, he says that “it’s really about the people, not the things.” The East Village veterans mentor retailers who are new on the street, and they have built relationships with customers from all walks of life. They have also been running a food drive in their store for over twenty years. “Sometimes people come in and give, other times they take,” says Santo.

Santo and Margaret are soft spoken individuals, but you do not survive for over thirty years on 9th street without a certain amount of resourcefulness. For example, in the mid 2000s, Santo had to run a generator on the sidewalk for over a year to provide electricity for the store. The reduced electricity, Santo said, was part of an effort to push them out. After a prolonged legal battle, the proprietors of The Source won. “We just wanted to serve the community and be fair and honest in all our dealings,” Santo added with a shrug. Santo and Margaret are never looking for a fight, but it is clear they are not afraid of one, either.

When we asked the couple, in early 2018, if they ever thought about retirement, even their dog Curtis looked amused. “Retirement? I don’t know what that means,” Margaret replied. Smiling, Santo added that those who work for bureaucracies or corporations can often pack up one day and stop going to work, but, “We work for ourselves. We love it. And we have to keep it up to survive. The neighborhood is always evolving, but we can’t think of a place we’d rather be.”

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The Source Unltd Print & Copy Shop 3 Office Supplies East Village
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The Source Unltd Print & Copy Shop 7 Office Supplies East Village
The Source Unltd Print & Copy Shop 1 Office Supplies East Village
The Source Unltd Print & Copy Shop 2 Office Supplies East Village

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Duo 1 Women's Clothing Vintage undefined


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