In 1979, Margaret M. Sprague, who had moved to Madison with her family five years before, had been discriminated against in a publishing management job. She sued her boss. After all the publicity, she felt it unlikely to be hired by another publisher, so she decided to start her own publishing company.
In 1980, a friendly local magazine, Amie, was the first publication of Two Ems, Inc. As publisher, Margaret wanted to tell the stories of women residents of the Central Connecticut Shoreline. The friendly name (Amie is a female friend in French) was to imply that stories would be like conversations between women. At the time of its launch, women were still not truly “equal” in many areas of society.
Editorial emphasis was on “first woman” or “changed woman” or “achieving woman” stories and illustrations. The emphasis was not anti-male, but was pro-female. It was not gender exclusive, yet most columnists, illustrators, and writers were female. Local business owners supported the magazine and local readers praised its contents. Amie magazine received a first place award for local magazines from the Connecticut Chapter of Women in Communications.
The prize-winning magazine was not sustainable though, and Amie closed after three years. However, many of the advertisers in Amie had appreciated the graphic design and advertising production of Two Ems. In response to them, the company began helping local businesses and organizations with Public Relations as well as creating their ads.
A rapid demand for photocopy services began just then, so Two Ems joined the National Association of Quick Printers and moved from the Dairy Queen building into the Monroe Building in the center of downtown Madison, a more accessible space for the public.
During the next 37 years, Two Ems created: visitor booklets for small towns (including Madison), brochures, business cards, church publications, school athletic booklets, college alumnae newsletters, as well as family calendars, funeral and wedding programs – the entire gamut of a full service print shop. Two Ems grew into a family business where local employees served local customers with high-quality printing and reliable service.
From the first days at the Monroe Building, customers requested writing papers and pens. By 1990, aisles were filled with fine papers, pens & pencils, journals, pewter, and leather goods.
In 2017, the store name became Post Road Press as a new Xerox digital press was added to production facilities. The new machine was three feet longer than it’s predecessor. There wasn’t enough room! Margaret started searching for a new, more commercial site for her company. It took two years.
June 2019 found the company still in Madison, just half a block away from the Post Road Press offices. Since it was now housed in a back address space (32B Wall Street), its store name was changed again to Two Ems Press.
Moving in took several months, but the expanded production department was fully operational by September. Book design and print services were added and the first happy author got her hard cover book just before the end of the year.
The history of Two Ems, Inc. is really a story of how a woman, who had never thought of being an entrepreneur, simply started publishing stories. She then kept offering business people and individuals more ways to tell their stories with printing and publishing. Why? Because her customers asked for them.”