Stewart Eves made the decision to move to Vail just over 30 years ago.Not surprisingly, he says, people thought he was crazy. As it turns out, it wasn’t such a bad decision after all.”I came to visit my brother who was a ski bum here and I fell in love (with Vail),” Stew says. “When we first came here there were a lot of people who said, ‘I can’t believe you’re doing that,’ and they may still be back there doing what they were doing when I left.”Stewart grew up in upstate New York, “not New York City,” he is quick to clarify. He attended the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York and graduated with a degree in graphic design. During college he met his wife-to-be, Susan, and during Stew’s last year at RIT they were married.”In 1975 when we left Cortland, New York to move to Vail, we packed our Blue VW Bug in the back of a big U-Haul truck,” Stew says. “I remember telling my Dad, somewhat tearfully, that we would be back East in about three years. His response was ‘No you won’t!’ I think he recognized that we would always love Colorado and the mountains.”While still in high school, and during summers off from college, Stewart had worked for a print shop. His time there helped him learn the printing business along with his own suitability for the profession.”I figured you could do printing in any economy and anywhere in the world,” Stew says.When Stew arrived in Vail he took a job at The Printery in Vail, where he worked for a year-and-a-half. Soon afterward he took a job as bartender at the old Baxter’s restaurant on Bridge Street in Vail Village. Sue worked just up the street at Los Amigos and the two lived in town. Stew remembers those years with affection.After three or four winters in the bar, Stew decided to launch his own print shop. His time in the village cemented Stew’s relationship with Vail and fostered connections with all kinds of peoplepeople who would become his loyal client base. Eves Print Shop opened for business in West Vail in 1979 and Stew hasn’t looked back since.This year the company, which has been called EPS Print and Design since they moved to their current residence in Edwards five years ago, celebrated their 25th anniversary.For Stew, success has been formulaic: equal parts hard work and good customer service.”We try to give the customer reliable service, and give them more than they ask for,” Stew says. “We try to be on time, on budget and on the ball, things of that nature.”In the beginning there was a single printing press, a hand-held calculator, a few telephones, a graphic arts camera and a smiling Stew Eves atop a small stool. Today, EPS has six employees and state-of-the-art equipment. Everything is highly organized and efficient, just as it has always been. And Stew still delivers completed orders to customers himself.”I like going out to see people,” he says. “It is good to get an idea of what they have going on. This way, people can ask my opinion, and I give it to them.”The same year the print shop started up, another life-altering event took place. Stew’s first child, Eric, was born. Two more children would eventually follow, Elizabeth and Evan. Today, Eric, 24, has moved back to the valley and Elizabeth, 21, has plans to follow after she finishes up her college education at Colorado State University.”After a couple of years of college (Eric) came to us and said ‘I really want to live here, in the mountains,'” Stew says. “Elizabeth said the same thing a little bit ago.”It’s very gratifying to hear that my kids want to come back here,” he says. “I hope they can do it, there are challenges, but there are challenges when it comes to doing anything you want to do.”Stew’s youngest son Evan is a freshman at Fort Lewis College in Durango and though he hasn’t made any concrete decisions, just might end up back in town as well.Stew is a firm advocate of investing in the things you believe in.A few years ago a group of longtime locals, led by David Haakenson, decided to start a charitable foundation to help give back to the community some of what the group had garnered from it. The organization is now officially a non-profit and they’ve adopted a mission statement: “Swiftly helping those in need in our community, through random acts of kindness.” Stewart is a board member for the foundation and says the emphasis will be on local need, low administrative costs and swift execution.”We’ve just started giving some money away to different people and different organizations,” Stew says. “There’s a local girl that needs some dental work done that her family can’t afford that we’re helping.”Haakenson has known Stew for quite a few years now and is quick to talk about Stewart’s quiet dedication to the community and acts of kindness.”He’s one of the first people who wanted to get involved with Swift Eagle,” Haakenson says. “He’s a real solid person, community-minded, noble kind of guy honest and forthright. Stew’s also a real jokester; he loves to tell jokes. He seems pretty straight-arrow when you talk to him–well, he’s not.”Stewart’s close friend Loren Gifford has known him since he moved to the valley and started Ace Hardware, one the businesses alongside the print shop at it’s previous location in West Vail.”Stew’s a character,” Gifford laughs. “I’ve known him for about a dozen years, ever since I moved to the valley. He helped throw out the welcome mat for me. We found that our moral code, so to speak, was very similar. His integrity is impeccable.”Life is full, for Stew, of the things he’d envisioned for himself: a happy and healthy family, along with a small-yet-thriving print business in a modest community.As for the future, Stew can’t picture himself anywhere else.”Oh yeah, gosh, I love it here. I think this is an exciting place to live.” VTCaramie Schnell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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