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My dad, Ron Halsey, now retired, spent his career in the printing industry. Growing up in Alleghany County, NC, he learned photography from my Great-Uncle Merle Cornett. Dad worked with Merle in Roanoke, moved to Bristol and and eventually became supervisor of the camera department at Kingsport Press, at the time, the largest book printer in the world.

Kingsport bought the first imposition camera Opti-Copy built and dad eventually went to work for Opti in Kansas City. After finishing school, I went to work there and we sold and installed camera systems all over the U.S. and Canada. Dad traveled around the world, actually, selling and working to set up dealerships in Germany, Australia and Japan.

In 1988 we (and others) were tired of traveling and opened ISI in Greensboro, North Carolina. We offered prepress, camera services to the printing industry. Over the years, we shot thousands of books for printers across the country, including R.R. Donnelley, Banta Press, Easton Press (Nicholstone), Edwards & Broughton and many others.

In 2003, we moved home to the Blue Ridge Mountains and reworked the business to include web, print, design, and document services and from September 2007 to December 2015, we operated at our location on Main Street in Sparta, North Carolina.

Star Route Books focuses on regional, historical and cultural subjects. The name fits our rural roots perfectly. Growing up, my grandparents’ address was simply, “Star Route, Sparta, NC” so to us, the name has a nice, familiar quality.

According to the National Postal Museum website, “In 1845, postal officials tried a new approach to expand the nation’s mail service—Star Routes. The Post Office Department hired contractors for these new routes and allowed them to use any form of transportation they chose to carry the mail, from canoes to snowshoes. The mail has traveled along this network of Star Routes across America’s valleys, mountains, rivers, and highways ever since.”

Contractors were to carry the mail with “celerity (speed), certainty, and security.” I can’t think of a better way to describe our commitment to our customers. Imaging Specialists has delivered superior quality and service, now, for over 30 years.

– Jeff Halsey