Printwear

February '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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SHOP TOUR SHOP TOUR SHOP TOUR 6 4 P R I N T W E A R F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 9 Printwear Shop Snapshot : Muckles Ink M ost screen printers consider themselves part of a community, whether that's the broader decorator spectrum, or more literally a fixture in their local city. For Muck- les Ink, being a part of Binghamton, New York's economic heart is something co- owner Casey Coolbaugh is equally excited about and proud of. Known in the 19th century colloquially as Parlor City, Binghamton's post-Civil War days birthed a booming manufac- turing town that produced everything from cigars to furniture to washing machines and pianos. Since then, the city and the region have seen fluctuations of economic prosperity and stagnancy, and Coolbaugh notes that a quiet re-emergence of local business is back on the rise. "There's a clear path to revitalization here, and you can't second guess it anymore," he explains. "Businesses like us have really forged the way for this downtown renaissance." For Muckles Ink, that uptick in commerce came in the form of a recent move to a new building. Coolbaugh and the company's co-owners set up shop in a new multi-purpose building that features a retail shop on the main floor known as Muckles U, the print shop in the basement, and an upstairs mezzanine. Before moving to the new facility, the com- pany was primarily a commercial screen-printing operation. Approximately three years ago, Stefan Oliveira joined the business as a third co-owner. Coolbaugh points back to the shop's humble beginnings when asked how the recent evolution came about. Coolbaugh and his co-owner founder Chauna D'Angelo began their foray into screen printing in 2012. Attending Binghamton University for film and looking for a way to print gift T-shirts for visiting filmmakers, the founders met George Bryant, a local high school art teacher with roughly 30 years of experience in the trade. With their background in graphics, Coolbaugh and D'Angelo began learning the craft from Bryant at his basement-based, DIY operation. The early days consisted of printing with rudimentary tools and experimenting with screen-printed T-shirts and posters. Com- bining the fundamental elements of screen printing they learned from Bryant with their computer and graphics knowledge, Coolbaugh says the duo began developing a scalable, profitable operation. Today, the all-manual press shop largely serves local clients, like nearby Binghamton University, as well as other small businesses and events. "We can't compete with super- high volume, so we focus on people who are willing to pay a little bit more of a premium for better quality and customer service," Coolbaugh contends. With the new retail store, the business capitalizes on the connection to Binghamton University. Each semester a new wave of students and their families are poised to come shopping for seasonal events like homecoming, move-in day, and parent's weekend. Additionally, by still maintaining a steady list of commer- cial clients, Coolbaugh points out that Muckles isn't reliant on the retail store to cover the operation's overhead. With a new building and storefront, Coolbaugh says that being a known busi- ness in the community is something he sees as carrying Muckles on into the future. Since the start of the company, he stresses that orders have almost been entirely lo- cal, and it's built a reputation for the business around the city. "Even with the smaller community, we've found a way to keep our overhead low and stay afloat," Coolbaugh explains. "People respect that because we're from Bing- hamton, we went to school here, we stayed here, and started a business, and it's working." He closes with a thought about staying local and making it work; "A lot of my friends have moved away to where the grass is greener, but I think the grass is greenest where you fertilize it." For more information, visit www.Muck- lesInk.com. PW AT A GLANCE LOCATION: Binghamton, New York OWNERS: Casey Coolbaugh, Chau- na D'Angelo, Stefan Oliveira SQUARE FOOTAGE: 3,600 sq. ft. PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT: • Two Vastex V-2000HD Manual Screen-Printing Presses • One Vastex EconoRed II Belt Dryer • One Vastex E-2000 LED Exposure • One M&R RED CHILI D Flash- Cure Unit • One Vastex Dri-Vault Screen- Drying Cabinet 6 4 P R I N T W E A R F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 9 Muckles Ink is based in Binghamton, N.Y. and features a retail storefront, known as Muckles U. (All images courtesy Muckles Ink) Since the start of the company, he stresses that orders have almost been entirely lo it's working." local and making it work; "A lot of my friends have moved away to where the grass is greener, but I think the grass is greenest where you fertilize it." For more information, visit lesInk.com Muckles Ink is based in Binghamton, N.Y. and L-R: Company co-founders Casey Coolbaugh, Chauna D'Angelo, and partner Stefan Oliveira.

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