Mount Vernon business prints greetings cards on antique printing press

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MOUNT VERNON, Iowa (KCRG) - You might be surprised at what you'll find in Our Town when you check out the shops in the downtown area.

One gem is a little print shop called Iron Leaf Press.

"We have a greeting card line, so we print all of our greeting cards on letterpress on our antique printing presses," said Danielle Chargo, Iron Leaf's owner.

Chargo went to school for graphic design, but one class really got her interested in the hands-on experience of operating an old printing press.

The large one she has now is a hundred years old -- the centerpiece of Iron Leaf Press, her busy shop in downtown Mount Vernon.

"Beyond the greeting cards, we do some custom work so we do a lot of stationary orders, wedding invitations, business cards, thank you notes, a lot of that type of correspondence, commercial correspondence as well as personal," Chargo said.

This is all handset type that she compiles letter by letter the old-fashioned way. Once it's in place on the press, and the ink is flowing. Danielle prints each of these cards, one by one, giving us a special memento of Our Town Mount Vernon.

But her work extends far beyond Mount Vernon, even including a project for one of the stars of HGTV- Joanna Gaines.

"I got the order back in August last year, and it came through. I recognized her name, obviously when I was printing it. And it shipped to Waco," Chargo said.

A couple of months later she discovered her work was featured in Joanna Gaines' magazine, Magnolia.

"So, still feeling the effects of that. That's kind of a neat thing that I can be here and work with local people, but I can also expand to everywhere across the country," she said.

The press itself and the old style printing process fit right in with the historical aspect of Our Town. And the end result of Danielle's work is something people really appreciate.

"It's correspondence with people. You send a birthday card, you send a wedding invite, it's kind of that connection. And also when they open it, they see the handiwork in it. They feel the connection. "