The Right Type: North Woodmere resident Paul Schweitzer helps keep typewriters alive with his business
In a fast-paced, high-tech society, some old school professions have endured in today's instant message world.
News 12's Virginia Huie introduces us to a North Woodmere man whose retro skills have made him just "The Right Type" to succeed in business for nearly 60 years.
Whether it's for business or pleasure, many people admit they can't picture life without high-tech devices.
And it's impossible for many in the digital age to remember a time when America's cutting edge business machine was a typewriter.
Believe it or not, some people still hunt and peck on typewriters. Even more surprising is that there are people who can repair them.
Paul Schweitzer owns Gramercy Typewriter Company and has been fixing the machines for 57 years. His father, Abraham, started the business in 1932 during the Great Depression.
Today, it is one of the last typewriter repair shops in New York City.
Schweitzer can bring just about any broken typewriter back to life. From the early 19th century classics, to the sleeker portables of the 1950s, and early electrics of the 1960s. His clients include bankers, attorneys and old-time writers.
Schweitzer joined the family business in 1959. Back then, every desk in every office had a typewriter. Schweitzer fixed as many as 300 machines a week, and he wasn't alone.
"Back in the 60s and 70s, if you look in the Manhattan Yellow Pages, there were six pages of typewriter companies here in Manhattan," says Schweitzer.
But then, computers popped up in the late 1980s. Offices started replacing typewriters with the new faster machines with memory. The typewriter repair business took a hit.
While the dawning of the computer age sounded the death knell for most typewriter repair shops, Schweitzer's business was booming. He says one of the keys to staying alive was diversification. He learned new technology and how to fix HP printers.
Another key to Schweitzer's success was excellent customer service. Schweitzer spends most mornings around the city with his 30-pound tool bag repairing typewriters at businesses and private homes.
At 77 years old, Schweitzer still works five days a week and has no plans to retire.
Actors Tom Hanks and Sam Shepard are among Schweitzer's regular customers. He has groomed his son, Justin, to eventually take over the business.