Updated: December 26, 2020 07:57 AM
Created: December 25, 2020 05:39 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — City Blue Imaging started as a blueprint company in 1926. Over the years it's evolved to include event printing and small-batch jobs. It moved to Scio Street 25 years ago and celebrated its 90th birthday there in 2016.
On Christmas Eve, it burned to the ground.
"We pulled into the parking lot ... the smoke was just pouring out of the place," says City Blue owner Mark Cleary. Cleary spent about four hours on Scio Street overnight, watching as his business went up in smoke.
Before the fire, City Blue was a popular printer choice among some of Rochester's biggest festivals, like the Fringe Fest and Jazz Fest.
"It's devastating. They're such good people, they've always been very helpful and supportive of the festival," says Jazz Fest co-founder John Nugent. "It's just a huge loss for that area of downtown and for the work they do for people who need their services."
If you've been to Jazz Fest in recent years, you've probably seen some of City Blue's work.
"If you're downtown during the Jazz Fest or leading up to it, you see the big posters in the Eastman theatre windows," says Nugent.
"Those massive -- I don't know, 3' x 8' very large posters -- that City Blue has done for us, gosh since I can remember, at least 17, 18 years," he says.
It’s known for its quick turnaround time and specialized print jobs.
“Literally sometimes an hour before an act is gonna start we're getting a call like hey can we get something really quick, and you know we always made it work” says Cleary.
Since most events have been canceled because of the pandemic, City Blue had recently been doing more mailings for clients.
“[Clients] were relying now on mailings for annual appeals and to try to get back some of the money that they had lost throughout the year,” says Cleary.
The outside walls of the building on Scio Street served as a canvas for colorful murals by artist Shawn Dunwoody. Only one mural wall is still standing. It says the word “LOVE,” which Cleary says is a symbolic testament to the love City Blue has for our community and that our community has for City Blue.
Despite the tragedy, Cleary is in good spirits, which he attributes to his faith and the outpouring of “love” he's received from the community.
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