Printing business finds success

LACEY — Brothers Tom and John Grantham have turned a small screen printing and embroidery business into one that has grown to two locations, has a unionized work force and has a host of Thurston County customers.

Eleven years ago, the company that is now Budd Bay Embroidery & Specialties Inc. started in a 900-square-foot office in Olympia.

Today it has a sales office in Olympia and a 10,000-square-foot warehouse and sales office in Lacey, of which half is used by the company to embroider and print designs and logos on apparel, caps and other items such as coffee mugs and pens.

“If you can put a logo on it, we can do it,” co-owner John Grantham said.

Sign makers, painters union

The company grew by acquiring Dice Screen Printing of Olympia about two years ago. Its production workers are members of a sign makers and painters union.

By joining the union, the company’s production workers have standardized their pay and become more appealing to South Sound customers who seek to support U.S.-made products by unionized workers, Grantham said.

Budd Bay’s customers, most of whom are in South Sound, comprise local and state governments, private businesses, sports teams and schools, Grantham said.

“We like the booster clubs. That’s our meat and potatoes,” he said.

Organizations such as Lacey Youth Basketball and Black Hills Youth Baseball have ordered sports jerseys from Budd Bay, said Pete Peppley, a board member and coach in both leagues.

About 500 to 600 kids play in the baseball league and about 350 in the basketball league, Peppley said.

Budd Bay is easy to work with and responsive to questions and concerns, he said.

“We’ve always been very happy with what we received,” Peppley said.

Budd Bay has Thurston County competition.

One competitor is Color Graphics Screen Printing Inc. of Tumwater.

Now in its 24th year, Color Graphics operates out of a 23,000-square-foot warehouse at Mottman Industrial Park and has a staff of 25, co-owner Fred Gustafson said.

Though the two companies operate in a similar industry, Color Graphics focuses on corporate accounts and has done work for apparel makers such as Nike, Columbia Sportswear and Patagonia, he said.

“We overlap a little bit but we pretty much have different niches,” Gustafson said. “There is plenty of work in this area for all of us.”