Printwear Shop Tune-UP

Why You Should Enter the Printwear Shop Tune-Up

Mike Clark is the associate editor for Printwear and Sign & Digital Graphics magazines. Contact him at

In recent years, the Printwear Shop Tune-Up contest has been a source of business improvements for various decorated apparel shops around the country. In previous years, industry expert Lon Winters has traveled to winners’ shops to help owners assess where their shop needs work, identify their strengths, and map out a game plan of how to put the business on a fresh path towards better practices over the course of five days.

The 2016 Printwear Shop Tune-Up is the first contest for embroidery shops, featuring Printwear columnist and industry expert Erich Campbell. The 2016 contest is in full swing and businesses can enter here. Why should you enter? Read our Q&A below with last year’s winner, Arc of Steuben Printers Plus, for an idea of what you’ll gain from a consultation like this.

In 2015, Winters traveled to Bath, N.Y. to help Arc of Steuben Printers Plus with multiple challenges, a small, but talented staff dealing with increased demand and production hurdles. During the course of his visit, Winters worked with the staff to mold a game plan and put them on the path to where they currently are today. We recently spoke with Don Evia, vice president of sales at Printers Plus, on how the experience was for him and the shop, and why he implores businesses to enter this year’s contest.

Why did you decide to enter the 2015 Printwear Shop Tune-Up?

It actually started a year prior when I read about the previous Shop Tune-Up in Printwear magazine. I brought it to my boss’ attention, never really dreaming that we would win it. In our case, we didn’t really have a lot of extra money for additional training, so this sort of consultation really spoke to our needs.

What was your initial reaction to winning the contest?

Well, the irony of it was right before we heard that we had won, I had been in touch with some suppliers of ours. I was trying to find ones to come in for two or three days to hopefully do some onsite training. Thankfully we won the contest instead.

 What were some of your favorite moments from Winters’ visit?

Probably when he told us to “burn them damned wooden screens.” [Winters helped the screen printing crew improve their efficiency by eliminating the use of wooden screens.] I smiled for about 24 hours straight after that. On the larger scale, Winters helped start our evolution towards being a better print shop, and he helped cultivate a culture of employees who are always interested in learning new things. In addition to improving our printing process, Winters helped improve facets of our production too. We learned a lot during his visit—the right screens to use, our graphic design approach, improving our squeegee sharpening/rotation process, and how to choose a reliable durometer. We also completely redid our yellow room per his suggestion.

During the shop consultation, Winters showed Printers Plus various tricks to improve their production time, like using newer exposure calculators, taping methods, and squeegee techniques.

How can shops make themselves stand out with their contest entry?

I wouldn’t just send a wish list. Be very honest about your weaknesses and explain areas that need improvement in your shop. Maybe it’s embarrassing, but you need to present it so [Erich and Printwear] can evaluate what your needs are. If you don’t admit there’s a problem, you’re never going to fix it.

Should businesses include a video?

See the video Printers Plus submitted for their entry in the 2015 Printwear Shop Tune-Up.

Why should shops enter the contest?

It’s not going to take you that long to enter and you will not believe the benefits you can reap from this. Not to mention, your odds are very good!

To enter the Printwear 2016 Shop Tune-Up, visit: