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By RAEGAN MILLER
Daily News Staff Writer
After using their home as a base for their business for two and a half years, Karyn and Dan Voelz have moved their garment printing business to a new location on Tongass Avenue.
Pacific Printing focuses on printing garments for local businesses, as well as printing designs from local artists on sweatshirts, hats and shirts.
The business has done printing jobs for a variety of local organizations, and also collaborates with local artists.
“We are kind of more in a category of manufacturing than retail, but we’re going to blend in retail,” Dan Voelz told the Daily News during a recent tour of the location.
The retail side of the business would allow customers to purchase apparel printed with designs from local artists.
Now in its new location, Pacific Printing uses a variety of machines to continue efficiently printing as demand grows.
The business utilizes an embroidery machine to stitch designs onto hats. The machine has what Karyn Voelz referred to as “two heads,” which allows two hats to be stitched at the same time.
Pacific Printing also does vinyl transfers, which Dan Voelz said is what might be commonly found at carnivals or places where shirts are made in front of the customers.
The business utilizes two screenprinting machines. One is a “six-by-four machine,” which, Dan Voelz explained, means that it allows for up to six colors and the ability to load up to four garments at once.
“This one has allowed us to pretty much handle 95% of what’s thrown at us,” Dan Voelz said.
There is also a new addition to the mechanical roster: a “10-by-12” machine, which features 10 “print heads” and “12 flats.”
When activated, the machine swings several large “arms” in a circle as it paints and presses designs onto garments.
“Once I set this up, I can run — probably at a slow pace — 700 (garments) an hour,” Dan Voelz said.
“So when we get into those larger jobs, the next fastest way is to clone yourself,” he joked.
The machinery was expensive, but Karyn and Dan Voelz both said that profit made from the business is put back into the business.
“Something like this would be 10 years out if you were trying to buy groceries and make car payments (and) insurance (payments),” he said. “It’s a big enough business that you could pay yourself a paycheck, but our passion was to try to grow it, and to try what market’s out there. “
Karyn Voelz said that the business started with an idea for a collaboration with local artist Matt Hamilton.
“We only started printing because of the joining up with Matt,” she said.
Hamilton told the Daily News that he had been using a printer based out of the state, which was expensive. Hamilton also added that he had been advised by local artist and musician Ray Troll to keep his designs coming out quickly, which was difficult with the printer that Hamilton had been using.
“You can’t talk to someone on the phone at ‘Custom Ink’ and have all your questions answered from down south, where it’s like it might turn out the way you want (or) it might not,” Hamilton said.
The idea to collaborate came when Hamilton approached Dan Voelz – who owns the business “Pacific Pride” with Karyn Voelz – about buying some of his stock to sell in the store.
After being approached by Hamilton, Dan bought much of his stock.
At that point, Hamilton said “we didn’t really have much of a relationship except being nice to each other.”
Later, while both Voelz and Hamilton were at an event, they began talking about the possibility of a collaboration for screenprinting.
“That’s what had happened, was he had offered to maybe buy a machine and kind of go there – and that it was a big ‘maybe,’” Hamilton said.
The idea continued to develop, leading Dan and Karyn Voelz to purchase their first pieces of machinery.
“As soon as we started working together … it snowballed, and for me it got out of control for a while, where every night I was doing designs,” Hamilton said. “I was trying to do three designs a day for one year.”
“This has been such a cool collaboration,” Hamilton added. ”And I feel like right now where my business ends and theirs starts, and then vice versa … it’s just a circle and we keep feeding off each other.”
“We’d like to keep expanding,” Karyn Voelz said. “Whatever people are looking for that we feel like we can offer, we’ll just kind of keep expanding.”