Add in Promo Products for More Bucks

MiddletownInk (asi/531055) in Middletown, DE, is seeing rapid growth in printing specialty promotional products, in addition to apparel. The contract printer, run by husband-and-wife team Megan and Brian Haines, has a reputation for handling complex jobs with a quick turnaround. “One of our customers makes all sorts of promotional items and turns to us for printing because they know we can figure out a way to handle it,” Megan says. “Many of the jobs we handle for them are things that have never before been screen printed. We’re sort of their R&D facility.” Among the more unusual items MiddletownInk has tackled are giant natural-rubber erasers and valve handle covers

Megan attributes much of the success in this area to the shop’s Vastex V-2000 four-station, four-color manual press. MiddletownInk uses the versatile press exclusively for complicated jobs and higher-margin items like hats, earmuffs and plumbing valve sleeves, Megan says.

The decorator has also found a way to make numbered athletic uniforms more profitable, using a DiGiT numbering system that clamps onto their manual press. The system speeds through numbering by splitting numbers between two screens – one for digits 1 through 5, the other for 6 through 0. Prior to that, the shop was using vinyl heat transfers for uniform numbers, and Megan says the cost of storing a huge inventory of numbers was “eating us alive.” The DiGiT system has been a boon, allowing MiddletownInk to handle large-volume orders with ease: “We once filled an order for 4,212 numbered garments for a sports summer camp,” Megan says.