New print shop relies on expertise, relationships and downtown showroom to win customers

CHAMBERSBURG – The official ribbon cutting for Beam Graphix Custom Print Co. (29 S. Main St.) will be held on February 3 at 9:30 a.m., but the showroom is already receiving visitors – and orders.

The new-to-Chambersburg screen printing, embroidery and engraving company empowers businesses to strengthen their brands with uniforms and corporate gifts and enables individuals to commemorate achievements with customized keepsakes.

Owner/operator Doug Counts has been preparing for the opening since October 15, and he opened the doors of his newly renovated showroom to the public on January 13. (It’s common for businesses to have “soft” openings that ramp up to the “grand” opening).

The renovation has so far included replacing the carpet, painting everything and putting new ceiling tiles in. There is still a bit of electrical and lighting work to do, and he plans to paint the outside when it gets a little warmer. The space was previously the home of Printaway, which, itself, expanded to a larger facility at 170 Mill Road in March of 2019.

The first quarter of the 3,000 square foot space is a well-stocked showroom dedicated to helping customers visualize what is possible (which is pretty much anything).

Along one wall hang blank t-shirts, polos, sweatshirts, backpacks, construction vests, and hats – all waiting to bear the logos of local HVAC companies, construction crews and restaurant staffs.

The opposite wall boasts a wide variety of blank Yeti-style cups that would look great with your logo on them or an inspirational phrase (or both).

A table in the middle includes some more creative ideas including a branded pizza peel (the paddle-like tool that is used to position pizzas in ovens), cutting boards and a decorative knife set.

And all around the room are shelves and display cases filled with plaques and trophies waiting to be earned.

“There’s a lot to choose from,” says Counts. “As you can see here in the shop, there are a lot of different things to look at.”

For example:

“I have a huge catalog with all types of different brands of shirts – Carhartt, Gildan, BELLA+CANVAS – there are many, many brands that we carry. There’s a lot to choose from.”

And there are the materials, colors, sizes and styles.

And that’s just the shirts.

But the most important thing that visitors will find in the showroom is Counts himself. With him as a guide, clients will find that the process is surprisingly streamlined.

“You bring in the logo,” he says of the process. “We decide on a garment to put it on. I send you an artwork proof. You approve it. I burn the screens. Set it up on the machine, and away we go. It’s a fairly straightforward process.”

Before moving to Chambersburg from South Carolina, he was immersed in the monogrammed world of golf – giving lessons and arranging the retail space of the club room so that items were visually appealing and easily found.

“We were always rearranging the storefront, moving tables around and having different sections,” says Counts, “so people could visually walk through the store and get a good view of everything. That’s the main goal. There’s a lot of stuff in here now, but it’s not so overcrowded that you get overwhelmed.”

For Beam Graphix, the showroom is a conversation starter: first, visitors are shown what is possible, and then Counts matches them up with what they need.

“I still have to be out here to explain what it is,” he says of the various items and specialized techniques. “There’s just no way around that in this sort of business.”

“You want to have that personal feeling with that person that’s working for you,” he adds. “You want to have that relationship, and that’s what brings people back and spreads the word. Having that personal relationship is key to this whole business. It really is.”

The showroom might get the conversation started, but the personal touch continues in the other three quarters of the ground floor space.

Behind a recently installed dividing wall (bearing the Beam Graphix logo), filling out the rest of the first floor mixed-use space is the equipment where all of the items are printed, engraved or embroidered.

“Everything is done in-house here by me,” says Counts. “That really brings a personal connection between me and the customer so that’s always a plus.”

The combination of carefully arranged show room and personal touch are already winning him work – during our interview, a customer walked in to check on an order of promotional golf towels to give to clients.

“She popped her head in here one day, kind of curious as to what we were doing, and it led to that,” explains Counts. “That’s how easy it is. She came in yesterday and put that order in. I’ve already gotten the art work sent off. I’ve already gotten the order put in. So everything should be here on Monday – within two days.”

And while Counts is more than happy to guide customers through the process, he is ultimately a facilitator to the customer’s wishes. It’s their business. It’s their cherished memory. They are always in the driver’s seat.

“I try and always let the customer make the choice as far as colors may go,” he says. “I can sit there and suggest something, but when it comes down to it, it’s their choice. I try and make that apparent to them. I think that’s important.”

[Main image caption: Doug Counts, owner/operator of Beam Graphix (29 S. Main St.) poses behind the counter in the showroom of his downtown print, engraving and embroidery shop.]

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