Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Copy that: Peekskill business welcomes diverse clientele


Editor’s Note: To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, the Herald is featuring Young Latin Voices, profiles of a few of Peekskill’s Latin business owners.

 On an afternoon in November four years ago, after getting off a bus in downtown Peekskill, Eddie Guiracocha noticed an open door of a business and people coming out of the Copy Center on Park Street.  He thought to himself, ‘let me just see if they need help.’ Guiracocha was hired on the spot to do graphic design. That day Guiracocha unknowingly began his journey as a business owner, purchasing the Copy Center from his bosses nine months later during the pandemic. 

The business had been serving the city of Peekskill for more than 40 years, known as A Copy A Second.  The business, now known as “Copy Center & Services Inc.”, has begun to expand services to appeal to the needs of a newer generation under the guidance of Guiracocha. Guiracocha is a first time business owner and a member of the Ecuadorian community in Peekskill. 

Guiracocha, 30, was born in White Plains but grew up in Peekskill and graduated from PHS in 2011. His parents are from Cuenca and Giron in Ecuador. If you told Guiracocha when he was graduating high school that he would one day be a business owner in Peekskill  he most likely would’ve laughed at you. According to Guiracocha, he hated what Peekskill was in 2011, leading him to apply to multiple colleges hours away in an attempt to flee his hometown.  He ended up at the State University of New York in Canton, about 300 miles north of Peekskil. He recalls that he was accepted into other SUNY schools such as Binghamton, Albany, and Cobleskill but chose the farthest “because I wanted to get away from here.” He studied graphic design, graduating in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree. After graduation he lived in Canton for two years, occasionally coming to Peekskill to visit family and friends.

 “I wasn’t planning on going to college. I wanted to work and make money doing painting and construction,” Guiracocha said and admitted not knowing what he was getting himself into when he began studying graphic design.  After a while it became a passion of his. Guiracocha returned to Peekskill in 2019 and began working at Sparkles Custom Screen Printing Corp in Mahopac.  

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Copy Center closed for almost two months in March 2020. The owners, Flora Solis and her husband Pedro Alvarado, resided in Croton so they asked Guiracocha to sporadically come by the store and open it for a few hours trying to ease back into normalcy and reopening. 

Eddie Guiracocha modernized and updated his company’s workspace. 

The store reopened in May but things were different due to Covid restrictions. Customers could no longer enter the store. A table covered the archway at the entrance stopping people at the door. A month later, the owners revealed to their staff  that they were planning on selling the business and moving to Ecuador. Guiracocha was offered the business and took over the reins on September 1, 2020. 

While he was an employee at the shop, he was contemplating pursuing his passion of photography as a full time job. He had been doing photography on the side for years but was left with no steady photo shoots at times.  “I had to make a choice. Pick one or the other – pursue photography full time or the Copy Center”. Although Guiracocha chose the Copy Center, he continues to do photography for weddings and sweet 15/16’s occasionally. “I didn’t plan on it but I’m glad it worked out by itself because I love being a graphic designer – I love what I do. That’s why I work seven days a week,” said Guiracocha. 

For the first few months Guiracocha struggled with different aspects of his new role as owner. He admitted not having knowledge about bookkeeping, budgeting, leases, insurances, payrolls and balancing books. He managed the financial side of the business, learning by trial and error. 

“All that stuff hit me one after the other. It took a toll on me.” He also struggled with speaking to customers and his crew. When Guiracocha worked in Mahopac, he worked by himself in a quiet setting with no one around him. 

The company offers more than photocopying services. Photo by Jeff Merchan

“I was a very introverted person. When I came and started working here, this job forced me to be around people and talk to a lot of people,” said Guiracocha. With the help of his secretary and staff, Guiracocha was able to become the welcoming and friendly face you see when you walk into the Copy Center today. 

In January of this year,  the Copy Center closed for a few days for much-needed renovations according to Guiracocha. “I wanted the place to be more of who I am. This is now an accurate representation of what I think this place can be. Before I was making do with what I had. At the same time, I felt like I was trapped in a dungeon in the past – trying to offer new things but still living in the past. I needed a new revamp,” said Guiracocha. Colorful walls were added, along with new floors, counters, and windows. 

Prior to the acquisition of the business by Guiracoha, he noted that the majority of customers were a part of the Hispanic community. His customers are now very diverse and credits a lot of it to himself being bilingual. The previous owners weren’t able to market a lot of their services due to their language barrier. “It’s very important for the Hispanic community to keep coming in but what we are trying to do is open up for everyone.” 

Guiracocha wants to eliminate the idea that the Copy Center only specializes in copies. “People think “Copy Center” it’s just paper. No. That is mainly what we’re known for but paper printing has been going down a lot. That’s why I push more creative services. If you look at our social media, we’re always trying to make something new and creative.” 

Customers can watch creative skits featuring Guiracocha promoting the store on The Copy Center’s instagram account. The store’s social media was already in existence when Guiracocha took over but he made sure to post more often, given his background in marketing. A goal Guiracocha has set for himself is to post more videos in Spanish.

A key motivator for Guiracocha is his wife, Elsita Arévalo, who lives in Ecuador. The couple have been married for almost two years. Guiracocha told the Herald that he works endlessly in hopes of being able to bring Arévalo to the United States. 

Now that he’s been running a business in Peekskill for the past three years, Guiracocha says he loves  the diverse community, getting to know customers, and the welcoming atmosphere everywhere in town. “This town feels like family. You walk down the block and you know almost everybody or they know your family,” said Guiracocha.  In this Instagram clip, Guiracocch explains why he loves Peekskill. 

Guiracocha also enjoys making small talk with his customers especially if they seem to be having a bad day. “Sometimes people just need someone to talk to. I care about the people and what they have to say.” Guiracocha is passionate about the revitalization of the downtown and believes Peekskill is turning a corner compared to when he left for college in 2011. 

The Copy Center is in the center of the downtown on Park Street, between Division and Bank Streets. Photo by Jeff Merchan.

The Copy Center currently employs four people which includes Guiracocha, a designer, and two secretaries. The Copy Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm and 11:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturday. The store offers: copy & printing, scanning, fax, blueprints, translations, promotional products, yard signs, shipping & drop off, graphic design, screen printing, car vinyls, flyers and brochures, stickers, banners and business cards. In addition, the store helps customers build logos and a brand image for their business – a service Guiracocha noticed the Hispanic community in Peekskill appreciated. He hopes to add additional services in the future which would open more job opportunities in his store. 

For loyal readers of the Herald, some may be familiar with Guiracocha’s parents, Luis Guiracocha and Martha Arevalo, who went viral in 2021 for saving a celebrity dog who belonged to a fashion model with a famous father. Read the story here


About the Contributor
Jeffrey Merchan
Peekskill native Jeffrey Merchan is a 2022 graduate of Peekskill High School. He is the Collegiate Journalist at Peekskill Herald, funded by a grant from the DJ McManus Foundation. He is currently enrolled at Westchester Community College where he is studying journalism. As the inaugural recipient of the McManus grant, he will be covering city government, schools and feature stories with a focus on Peekskill’s growing Hispanic community.