Beaver County CTC-Graphic Arts and Printing
145 Poplar Ave.
Monaca, PA 15061
About: Graphic Arts is an instructional program that generally prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to plan, prepare and execute commercial and industrial visual image and print products using mechanical, electronic and digital graphic and printing equipment. Students learn desktop publishing, layout, composition, presswork and bindery as well as photography, flexography, lithography, photo engraving and other graphic arts techniques. Emphasis is on typographical layout and design using computer graphics, photo typesetting, camera and plate making, offset preparation and operation, paper cutting, ink and color preparation and dynamics and airbrush and screen printing production.
Contact: Nicole DeMark
Screen Printing, Custom T-Shirts, Custom Embroidery, Signs in Berks County, Pennsylvania (New ASPA Member)
Giant Robo Printing
300 Ben Franklin Hwy E
Douglassville, PA 19518
Telephone: (484) 787-3845
Services: Screen Printing, Custom T-Shirts, Signs and Banners, Custom Embroidery
About: Giant Robo Printing is a full service print shop based in Berks County, PA. We offer screen printing, DTG printing, dye sublimation, pad printing, embroidery and sand blasting. While we are based in a small town, we have the capabilities of serving customers all over the world.
Offers Online Ordering
Contact: Brian Welch
The Story of Giant Robo Printing
My name is Brian Welch and I have walked a rather long and winding path to get to where I am today. From an early age, I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. My parents used to dissuade me from that path, claiming it was too difficult and uncertain but my mind was made up and I can be rather stubborn. I am 43 now so back when I was in High School, the Internet was still in it's early stages. I fell in love with computers, technology and the Web.
My first business was building computers for both individuals and small businesses. I would source the components, build them, set them up at their office and offer some basic training to their employees on how to use them. I was a teenager at the time but there weren't a lot of people offering that and computer stores were few and far between. Still, it was a lot of work and expense and I knew it wouldn't work long term.
I decided I wanted to move my business to the Web and start making websites for companies. The Internet was so new there were no college classes on programming for the web. If you wanted to learn how to build websites, you had to figure it out on your own so that's what I did. At this point I was fresh out of High School, working full time during the day and going to college at night. Looking back, I am not sure when I slept because after doing my homework, I would teach myself to code. I built a few websites for some friends that I knew and once I had a small portfolio, I started my next company, Perfect Presence, a web design and hosting company. It really took off and I ended up quitting my day job and dropping out of college after my 2nd year to focus solely on my business. It drove my parents nuts but they were very supportive.
By the mid to late 90's I had built quite a few websites for local business but I also worked on a few of my own projects. I had created the first directory website for online business services and had built the first (I think) ad network that was based solely on text links rather than banners. Those projects had peaked the interest of an Internet startup out in Orange County, CA called eFront Media. They were a rapidly growing network of content websites that was on the path of going public during the insane dot com boom. They purchased my side projects for over $1,000,000 in stock options and hired me on as a Director. I got the cover story of the local paper and word quickly spread among people that knew me. I was in my early 20's and just struck it rich (or so everyone thought).
We were just a few months away from our IPO when the Dot Com crash happened and the company took a dark turn. They asked me to do some things I thought were unethical so I quit and went back to running Perfect Presence. I still owned the stock options which were supposed to be the big payoff so I wasn't too worried about it. A few months later, the CEO's computer was hacked and his chat logs were released outlining some really shady business practices (most of us were completely unaware). Later it was found that he was working under a false name and was already wanted for fraud in his previous business. Needless to say, the company never went public and those stock options weren't worth the paper they were printed on. It was a crazy roller coaster and to this day, I run into old friends and acquaintances that think I am this eccentric and humble Internet millionaire.
With all of that behind me, I decided to get int the world of Ecommerce. Amazon was still in it's very early stages and the world of Ecommerce was exploding with small shops. I developed my own Ecommerce platform using programmers from the Ukraine and built a network of niche Ecommerce stores. It got the attention of an investor out in Seattle who was impressed with what I was doing. He was looking to get into the world of Ecommerce but didn't know much about it and didn't have any facilities. At the time I had a small 2500 square foot warehouse and office space along with a few employees. We decided to partner together and in 2006 we purchased SuperHeroStuff.com.
When we acquired it, the site was only doing about $100K in revenue every year. I was a huge comic book nerd (still am) and was pretty excited to take this project on. Over the next 12 years we grew to a company that was doing over $10,000,000 a year in revenue, had 35 employees and had expanded into nearly 20,000 square feet of warehouse space.
It was with this business that I learned a lot about the printing business. We didn't own the license so we couldn't print these products ourselves but since we had become many of these license holders biggest customer, we were able to work with them to get custom shirts and hats produced. We worked with a wide variety of shops that did screen printing and DTG for t-shirts and we worked with New Era to develop a pretty impressive line of embroidered superhero hats. Even though we didn't do that work ourselves, being part of that process was really fascinating, I loved the idea of starting with a design on a computer and making an actual product that people wanted to buy and wear.
In August of 2018 we sold SuperHeroStuff.com and I knew right away that with the money I made from the sale of that business, I wanted to start a print shop. The NBM show in Indianapolis was the first trade show I could find so I went out, took a bunch of classes, met a bunch of suppliers and started on my plan. By November of that year I had purchased my first Epson F2100 DTG printer, my Sawgrass SG800 dye sublimation printer and an Ikonics sand blasting cabinet to do glass etching.
I was pretty familiar with the world of Ecommerce so I launched https://www.brewswag.com, a store selling merchandise to homebrewers and craft beer fans. I never intended to open up an actual print shop. My plan was to launch my own stores and control my supply chain by doing all the printing myself. However, the word got out that I had this equipment and more and more people started asking me to print stuff for them so in early 2019, I launched Giant Robo Printing, our full service print shop. We just moved moved everything out of my basement and garage and moved into our brand new commercial space at the beginning of March. We are excited to see what the future brings and we are really loving the print life.
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