Increasing contract orders at The Greek Corner Screen Printing and Embroidery meant owner Jason Parke needed to step outside his comfort zone.
BY ETTIE BERNEKING
The Problem When Jason Parke bought The Greek Corner Screen Printing and Embroidery in 2009, his first big order was printing 1,300 shirts for Springfield Public School’s graduation. “Everything that could go wrong went wrong,” Parke says. One of the machines broke, a printer was out sick, a storm knocked out power and a dryer caught fire. Amazingly, Parke met the deadline, and things calmed down, with one exception: Business always slowed to a trickle during the winter. The Big Idea “My granddad always said you have to work twice as hard to do half as good during the winter,” Parke says. To fill the winter lull, Parke increased Greek Corner’s pool of contract orders—clients who place large orders throughout the year. Last year, contract orders made up about 20 percent of Greek Corner’s sales. This year, that number is up to 25 percent.
The Learning Curve It was a somewhat unnatural move for this reserved introvert. “Networking has always been a little harder for me,” he says. Along with cold-calling potential clients, Parke used existing relationships and connections to win over new customers who could benefit from contract orders. “Persistence is key,” he says. “When a potential client turns you down, you just refocus that energy on someone else and try to win that business. You have to move on and not take it personal.” The Takeaway “I’m not going to say having contract customers fills the winter, but it really helps,” Parke says. “A big part of success is building relationships with our clients.” For Parke, that means not stealing customers, meeting order deadlines and accommodating clients who come in with special requests. “Customers will never know we printed those shirts,” Parke says. “But our job is to make our clients looks good.”
The staff of Greek Corner Screen Printing and Embroidery is pleased to again be selected as a Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce 2017 Small Business of the Year Award Finalist. Even though we did not win, we are humbled to have been recognized for our commitment to provide the best custom screen printing and embroidery service in our market. We owe our success to our team of experienced customer service representatives, artists, screen printing technicians, and support staff. All of them work together to ensure we create great looking t-shirts and embroidered apparel that are completed on time, every time.
The Greek Corner is growing. We are looking for new team members to fill the following positions.
In-house Customer Service Representative.
We are seeking a Customer Service Professional to join our team! You will be responsible for answering phones and assisting our customers when they walk into our lobby for placing or picking up orders.
Handle customer inquiries and complaints
Provide information about the products and services
Document and update customer records based on interactions
Develop and maintain a knowledge base of the evolving products and services
Excellent phone skills a must
Previous experience in customer service, sales, or other related fields
Ability to build rapport with clients
Ability to prioritize and multitask
Positive and professional demeanor
Excellent written and verbal communication skills
Screen Printing Technician
Be detail oriented, follow processes and systems
Set up and tear down jobs
Have experience in working with automated press
Knowledge and experience in t-shirt screen printing process
You’ve decided to order screen printed t-shirts for your group, church, school or team. You Google custom screen printed t-shirts and are amazed to find 12 -15 local companies that print t-shirts. So, how do you pick the best one? It may be easy to compare price and delivery time, but how do you judge quality? Here’s a great way to separate the men from the boys . . . ask to take a tour of their shop.
Taking a shop tour is a great way to learn how a company really feels about quality. Here are few things to look for while they are showing you around.
Floor. Is it clean? Do your shoes stick to the floor? Are there globs of ink tracked all over the shop? Is it difficult to navigate through the shop?
Equipment. The equipment doesn’t have to be the latest and greatest. However, is it clean? Is ink smeared all over the machine? Does it appear to be well maintained? Does it look like the equipment actually works? Does it look like it’s held together with baling wire?
Efficient. Does the shop look efficient and orderly. Is it neat and uncluttered or does it look like an episode from the TV show “Hoarders”? Are there pieces of old, unused equipment sitting around covered with stacks of boxes and other pieces of equipment?
Lint. Is every flat surface covered with lint? Are dust bunnies multiplying in every nook and cranny? Does the top of the dryer look like a shag carpet due to a thick layer of lint?
Screen printing shops are notorious for being less than neat and clean. Sure, a dirty, cluttered shop might be able to produce a nice printed t-shirt. Anything is possible. However, you can be assured that if a shop cares enough about keeping their shop neat, clean and well organized they will be sticklers about the quality of your t-shirt order. You are always welcome to visit our shop. Call to set up your tour today.
Help your employees kick their crack habit by ordering our long tail t-shirts. Long tail tees are available in several colors including safety green. We’ll also custom screen print your t-shirts with your company logo. You’ll get the benefit of promoting your trade services while presenting a more professional image to your customers. Contact us today and get a quote so you can help your staff overcome the evils of crack.
We are pleased to announce the installation of a brand new, state-of-the-art Roq You12 automatic screen printing press. Our new screen printing press (shown in the foreground to the left) features 12 stations and can print up to 8 ink colors. The Roq You12 also has an automated flash unit which cures the ink as the printed shirts rotate through the process. It can sense the exact moment the ink has cured and automatically advance the pallet to the next printing station. Just like our existing You 16, the new You12 is rated to print 1,000 shirts an hour. Yes, that’s one thousand custom printed t-shirts in one hour. Is that really possible? It IS possible, but we are limited by how fast our operator can load the shirts. Having said that, last year, Production Manager Travis Christiansen printed 938 shirts in one hour.
While getting new equipment is always cool, the real question is, “How does it benefit you the customer?” You’ll benefit in two ways. First, for a great screen printing job, it’s important that the base coat ink is properly cured before applying the second color. Since this new automated flash unit senses that the ink is properly cured before printing the next color on the tee shirt, you’ll get a better printed image. Second, this new machine increases our capacity to produce more t-shirts in a shorter amount of time. Therefore, you’ll get faster delivery for your next t-shirt order.
Do you need help coming up with a design for your new t-shirts? Perhaps all you have is a sketch, a photo of something you like, or just an idea floating around in your head.
Let our screen printing wizards take your vision and bring it to life! We’ll take a look at your art, listen to your ideas, and work with you until we create the perfect t-shirt. As an example, take a look at the photos to the left. The first one is a photo of a tatoo a customer sent along with a description of what they wanted. The second photo is the finished screen printed t-shirt. Amazing! If we can transform a photo of a tattoo into a printed shirt, just imagine what we can do for you! Call us today with your ideas for a t-shirt design for your church group, business, school, or fundraiser.
Selling custom t-shirts is a great way to raise funds for your school, club, or group. It’s fun and we make it easy. Our Internet Sales Specialist will work with you to create a design that will create fun, excitement, and sales. You’ll get a proof that illustrates exactly how your fundraising shirt will look. With our MoneyTees program, we’ll take your orders in advance online. You won’t have any upfront costs or be stuck with leftover inventory. It’s easy, it’s fun, and you’ll make money. Visit ourMoneyTees page and get started on your fund raising campaign today.