By Mike Kinney
In 15 years of business, including seven years at the current location at 979 23rd St., Leftside Printing has become well known and regarded in Richmond.
Of course, like most businesses, it didn’t begin that way.
Before finding success, owner Diego Garcia said he had to learn the importance of the relationship between a business and its community.
“The success I thought would be coming when I opened the doors, thinking that everybody was going to rush in to print shirts, that wasn’t the fact,” said Garcia, whose business provides services such as graphic design and large format printing, such as stickers, banners and apparel. “The problem was that I was more engaged in trying to make money instead of being engaged in trying to provide a service for my community.”
He added, “The most successful businesses in any community are the ones who are reflective of how much work they put in their community.”
Garcia certainly puts in the overtime. While running his business, often with his sons by his side, he contributes to a number of efforts to uplift community members, from sponsoring events giving up both himself and his business to important causes.
Garcia is a frequent supporter and contributor to many local organizations and events, including St. Cornelius Church, the Cinco de Mayo Festival on 23rd Street, We Run Richmond, Richmond Sol, St. Mark’s Church, Verde School, National Latino Police Officers Association-Contra Costa Chapter, Toy Drive, GVF Generacion, Richmond High, Bay Area Peacekeeper-BAP and Indigenous People’s Walk for Sobriety.
“We provide a lot of printing services to nonprofits, faith religious groups, school and city departments,” Garcia said.
The hard work has earned exposure for Leftside Printing and also Garcia, a former City Council candidate who has emerged as a popular community leader.
Garcia said he enjoys seeing his work in action in the community.
His favorite part of Leftside Printing?
“What I really enjoy working here in my shop is spending quality time with my sons,” Garcia said, including Diego Moctezuma Garcia, Raul Huitzilopochtli Garcia and Ivan Quetzalcoatl Garcia.
Garcia also leans on another trusted team member, Mario Leal.
Garcia says success is never a guarantee. What he can guarantee, he said, is his dedication to helping make Richmond a better place, which also happens to be his best business plan.
“Looking back 15 years at what I had before and what I have now are two different stories, because back in 2008 I went bankrupt,” he said. “But now, because I have a successful business…I am able to employ people from the community, support my family and provide a valuable service in the community.”
When Garcia isn’t working, his family is out patronizing other Richmond businesses. His family wants to contribute to their growth, as well.
“It is important to rotate the money here in our community.” he said. “They are always supporting me and we are always supporting them.”