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Printing Palace

Printing Palace owner Mark Moralez prints a stack of posters on the Akiyama four-color, large-format offset press.

Mark Moralez came to Los Angeles in 1989 in hopes of fulfilling his dream of being a professional dancer.  As fate would have it, he ended up becoming a printer working his way up the ladder and today is the owner and operator of ‘Printing Palace,’ a  state-of-the-art, full-service printer and only printer in California still using offset printing.

Mark Moralez began his work as a printer 35 years ago going from shop to shop working in various capacities. Ten years ago he met the owner of ‘Printing Palace,’ and started working as a customer service representative for $10 per hour.  Eventually Moralez became manager of the shop, but in 2014, his boss and owner of the printing shop said he was selling the business. Moralez did not know what would happen to him, his job, nor the fate of the nine employees he managed, and although he had not thought about owning his own business before, with the encouragement of friends and family, he decided to go for it. 

Unfortunately, having a desire to own one’s own business and actually having the capital to do it are two different things; a point Moralez encountered the hard way. When he tried to get a loan through a local lending institution, his request was denied. “The lender had a negative idea of printers. They weren’t interested in lending to my type of business,” said Moralez. 

Disappointed with the news and figuring his chances of owning the shop had dwindled, Moralez posted on social media that his plans had changed due to being denied the loan.

Homestreet Bank of Southern California Vice President of SBA Lending, also named Mark Morales, but spelled with an ‘S’ instead of a ‘Z,’ saw his social media postings and contacted him to see if his bank and the SBA could help.  As an SBA approved lender, not only could Morales help Moralez with a 7(a) loan package, he could do it with little money down. “He walked me through the process every step of the way,” said Moralez.

Ultimately, Mark Moralez received a $1.4 million loan and officially bought ‘Printing Palace’ which is located in Santa Monica, Calif.  Since taking over the business, sales have risen 90 percent from when he was just an employee. His business has $1.5 million in annual sales and he is “looking for a 10 percent increase, but at this rate, with the help we received, we are looking at more like 50 percent,” added Moralez.

Through Mark Morales, Mark Moralez found out about other SBA programs, as well as the partnership between the SBA and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).  As an LGBT Business owner, Moralez discovered that he could get certified as an LGBT owned business and that would give him access to buyers who would like to deal with LGBT businesses.  Moralez is currently in the LGBT certification process and hopes to one day buy his own building to move his business into.  He plans to retire at age 70, “which is not too far away,” Moralez added.