Lake Media Services. True Story.


In the early 50s, Raymond Cooke (my father) asked his mother to loan him three thousand dollars so that he could purchase an existing letter shop located in the heart of Chicago –Lake Michigan Letter Service.  Owned by two women, it was rumored that Lake Michigan Letter Service was founded in the 1920s. Over the next 60 plus years, the company would move six times – five of which were to accommodate growth, and once due to fire.

At the time Lake Michigan Letter Service was founded, the only forms of customer communication was telephone, mail and foot messenger. (Yes, pick-ups and deliveries was my first teenage summer job.) Because of this, print shops were located close to their client base, running proofs and completed projects back and forth, and Lake Michigan Letter Service had a good location – what eventually became zip code 60601 .

In the early years, the company operated as a mailing service and offered mimeograph. By 1960, Raymond introduced offset printing – or what was deemed, "the next great thing," as it would eventually replace letterpress. Offset was less costly to operate, more agile and produced at a faster speed – in other words: offset was more profitable.

Having worked side-by-side with my father for the last 10 years of his career, 2015 marked my (Larry Cooke – designer, printer, owner of Lake Media Services) 40th year in the graphic arts industry. Upon my father's retirement, I acquired the business and proceeded to successfully lead the company through the digital revolution. The name changed to Lake Printers, reflecting what we had become – peaking at 20 employees and 10,000 square feet of warehouse, located literally "in the loop" at the intersection of Wabash and Lake.

1997 saw the company evolve one last time – our name changed to Lake Media Services, reflecting the broader reach of the company with the concentration on service and fulfilling the needs of our customers.

Lake Media Services relocated from the revered 60601 zip code in 2014, no longer needing proximity to its clients, and continues to keep pace in an ever-changing industry.