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Our Story

Founded in 2023, the Print Factory has been years in the making. We first started making noises about opening a bookstore in the town of Bellefonte, PA, over a decade ago, and returned to the project in earnest during the COVID pandemic. 

It’s something our team have been thinking about—dreaming about— for a very long time, and we are brimming with excitement about giving Bellefonte its first full-time brick-and-mortar bookstore. The Print Factory is a brand-new community-supported and employee-run bookstore and culture space in Centre County, Pennsylvania. Our mission is to support the artistic and intellectual life of the local community by providing a safe, welcoming environment for creative activity and cultural life.

Nestled among the limestone ridges of central Pennsylvania, Bellefonte is situated thirteen miles from Penn State University, and has long been an important site of literary and artistic activity. Dig a little into Bellefonte's history, and the evidence of our bookish past begins to accumulate: Sylvia Beach was a frequent visitor to the town during the early years of the twentieth century, where she regularly visited her grandparents before moving to Paris and founding the iconic Shakespeare and Co. bookstore in 1919. The Print Factory is founded on the premise that the most important places for creativity and inventiveness are those that are local, accessible, and near-at-hand. We are excited to make this vision a part of Bellefonte’s future.

Our project began in earnest at the height of the COVID pandemic, when the need for community—and for safe, welcoming, antiracist and queer-positive cultural spaces—became increasingly urgent. Over the spring and summer of 2020, our team began meeting informally with local teachers, students, and other community members to share ideas about how Bellefonte would benefit from a new cultural space. These meetings continued through the years that followed, years marked profoundly by the #BlackLivesMatter movement and struggles to defend the rights—and lives—of BIPOC kids and adults, as well as queer and trans kids and adults. We wanted to create a space in rural central Pennsylvania that could be “open” for public use, especially for people who tend to be marginalized in the community, and yet also maintained and self-organized in fostering meaningful creative communities and events.

Thanks to 3dotsdowntown in nearby State College, PA, who served as our Fiscal Sponsors, we began the process of incorporating in Fall 2022. In January 2023, we hosted our first outreach event, a zine-making workshop at My Café Buzz. By April 2023 we have signed a renewable 5-year lease on a storefront on Allegheny Street in Bellefonte. The building is currently undergoing renovations. Once these renovations are complete, we will build shelves, outfit the space, decorate the storefront, and stock the bookstore. With the support of our community in Centre County and beyond, we plan to open the Print Factory to the public in Fall 2023.

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