Vintage televisions from the 1950s, a radio dating back to the 1930s and a sound cylinder from the turn of the 20th century adorn the wall beside the entrance.
In the far corner, flanked by guitars, is a phonograph made in 1896. Star Wars memorabilia adorns the back wall.
This is not an antique shop, but a print shop.
The short drive through history is just one of the quirks making Rix Copies in Morristown a place the community flocks to for its printing needs, from the simple to the complex.
“I didn’t start off being a collector. I just bought a couple of old TVs one day and put in the store,” owner Rick Sosnoski said. “Then a couple of customers started giving me old TVs and a radio, so I guess I’m a collector now.”
The guitars are part of a lifetime collection representing his love for music.
“I’ve been playing for 35 years. (The guitars) are just extras,” Sosnoski said. “Most of my guitars are at home, and I still play at church.
“I just love to play. I just can’t give it up.”
Even the company name has a quirky story to it, dating back to high school in Rockville, Maryland for Sosnoski.
“I used to make mix tapes from albums to cassette tapes for my friends,” he said. “I used to call it ‘Rix Mix.’
“When I was trying to come up with a name for the store, my wife suggested I use the nickname from high school.”
For 14 years, Sosnoski has built a reputation in the Morristown community providing quality service that keeps his customers returning.
“I cut my niche focusing on quality and custom work. I’m also a quick print shop,” he said.
Sosnoski said his hands-on style is why customers choose his shop over the larger stores, saying they could use Vistaprint or other web services, and customers can see his work immediately instead of a week later.
“I think because I’ve built a reputation and a relationship within the community,” he said. “They don’t get a computer message, or a voicemail.
“That kind of relationship is what has kept me in business,” he said.
Sosnoski has taken his community-focused approach a few steps further by opening the 3,200 square feet of his store to more than just customers looking for printing services. He has opened space to bands to practice and women’s groups doing Bible study, among other things.
“I didn’t want a place closed off, with a window up front. It’s not personal enough for me. I wanted (Rix Copies) to be a meeting place,” Sosnoski said.
Rix Copies has lasted nearly a decade-and-a half because it has provided services and products larger chain stores have not been able to match.
“Here in town, those print shops don’t have the capabilities I have,” Sosnoski explained. “I have a high-speed laser blueprint, and wide format machines to make banners.”
Rix Copies also boasts digital presses that can print cards and documents in both black and white, as well as color. Sosnoski said those machines have made his life considerably easier and decreased turnaround time for orders.
“I can do a lot of prints on demand,” he said. “It saves work on the printer, so if a customer comes back two years later wanting 500 more (business) cards, (the machines) will remember it, and I can make them.”
In a long career dating back well over two decades, Sosnoski has watched the printing business morph from basic black-and-white to living color, the daunting less scary and the complex easier.
“I love the history of media, and how this went from mechanical to digital,” he said. “When I first got into the business working at Kinko’s using analog Xerox machines, it was like shooting a photo on the plate on the glass.
“You couldn’t scan more than one picture on the glass at a time. I’m so glad we have digital now.”
Sosnoski has worked in print shops in Atlanta, and other places. Due to frustration over his ideas not being taken seriously, he decided to strike out on his own.
“I tried using my knowledge (of the profession) to create ideas, but (my previous employers) treated me like an imbecile,” he said. “I took out a small business loan – and started the business.”
When asked if he planned on expanding and opening more stores, Sosnoski said his main focus is on his one store – and added he has no plans on taking that route anytime soon.
“Several people have asked me to franchise (the store),” he said. “I’m not greedy, or super ambitious.
“Plus, it would take me a year to write a training manual.”
Sosnoski said though he’s taken a long and sometimes rough route to obtain his success, he would trade those experiences for nothing.
“(Printing) is what I know and like,” he said. “I taught myself graphic design to make myself better.
“The work is dynamic, and I’m never bored.”