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Copy Shop to close after 18 years

Kate Antonacci | Wednesday, March 28, 2007

After a nearly two-year-long legal battle, The Copy Shop in LaFortune will permanently close its doors Friday, marking the end of 18 years of operations.

“This letter is one that I never anticipated having to write,” Tim Wright, president of Copy Wright, Inc. and owner of The Copy Shop in LaFortune, wrote in a letter available to any visitor to the LaFortune shop.

The letter, dated Monday, details the reasons for the business’ closing – namely the cost of the lawsuit between The Copy Shop and the University.

While Wright had hoped to continue business operations during the litigation, the costs of the process have drained the company’s cash flow to “the point where the business can no longer support itself,” the letter said.

University spokesman Don Wycliff said the University could not comment because the case “is in litigation.”

The dispute between Wright and the University revolves around the “option to renew” clause in the lease for The Copy Shop’s space.

Originally added to the store’s lease in 1989 by former owner Dan Foley, the option gives the owner an explicit option to renew the lease until the owner decides he or she does not want the space anymore or until a rule of the lease is violated, Wright said in a Nov. 21, 2005 article in The Observer.

But in early 2005, Wright was notified that the University “did not accept our offer to renew.”

“I sent them a letter and I said this was not an offer. It was the exercise of an option. That’s the basic dispute that the University was involved in with us when they filed their complaint,” he said at the time. “They said it was an offer, we said it wasn’t.”

In August 2005, the University filed a suit in the St. Joseph Circuit Court in Mishawaka against Copy Services Inc. asking the court for immediate possession of the property in the basement of the student center. Copy Services Inc. operates under the name The Copy Shop.

The issue was brought to the Indiana Court of Appeals, which ruled against the Copy Shop.

“We are in the process of moving the dispute to the next level, the Indiana Supreme Court,” Wright said in the letter.

Wright has operated The Copy Shop, an independent business not affiliated with the University, since 2001.

In his letter, Wright said that the University intends to “terminate our campus lease and, in effect, sell our business to Kinko’s.”