Most of you may know that this is a family run business. Sue and Gary are the parents of Eric. Gary left the business about 11 years ago to pursue other opportunities. Since that time Eric and Sue have run the business. So why all the back story, what does it matter? It looks like Sue, aka Mom, is going to retire. She is going to leave us to pursue "nothing". She's just going to take some time for herself and leave all the stress of running a small business behind her.
I don't want to get too mushy in this public forum but I am going to take this time to share with you some of the joys we have had over the last 12 years working together.
Info Screen Printing started as an afterthought to an already very successful manufacturing business called Info Manufacturing. Info Manufacturing produced several products that were sold on the infomercial market. These products included the ThighMaster, EZ Crunch and many other pieces of exercise equipment most of you still have under your beds or in your closets. One customer by the name of "I Dig" wanted to start a clothing line back in the early 90's. At the time, we were making their portable volleyball nets and they looked to us for the screen printing of their new clothing line. Sue had always been extremely creative and saw screen printing as another creative outlet. So Info Screen Printing was born and Sue began her path as a screen printer. She did everything from the artwork to making the screens and even printed every shirt herself in the early days.
Around 1998 Mom asked me to come and work at the shop. Lori and I had just gotten married in Colorado, so we packed up and I came to work with her. Working with your family has many advantages and just as many possible pitfalls. We have had our fair share of each. I have tons of stories about working with my Mom, but here are a couple that always come to mind.
Sue Gibby is the "Murphy Brown" of the screen printing world. I think there was a month that she fired a different person everyday. If anyone remembers the TV show, there was a new secretary every episode because they kept getting fired. The same thing would happen here. People would apply to work at Info and she would tell them "if you can keep up with me you can work here if not see ya later." Very few could keep up and many were surprised at how fast she could print. You need to also keep in mind this is before we every had an automatic press. She was printing every shirt by hand, and doing it faster than people half her age. We still have some employees here that passed her test in the beginning. So don't let the lady behind the computer fool you, she will work you into the ground.
Most people my moms age have had to adapt to the computers in their life. Sue is no different. She sits in front of this magical box every day and is just amazed at what it can do. But she is just as amazed at what it won't do... READ HER MIND. I can not tell you how many times I have told her to back up the quickbooks file. And every month she says the same thing, "How do I back up the file?". I think I have showed her her no less than 30 times how to back up the file. And still to this day I bet she has no idea how to do it. Little does she know that I have been backing it up automatically since the first day.
Let me tell you what my mom DOES use the computer for:
My mom plays this game every day for at least 3 hours. Yes! 3 hours! She could not figure out how to back up the most important file we have but she can play this game for hours a day. Between her and my father they have gone through 3 computer mice. The moral of the story is I should have made backing up the computer like playing a game and then she would have been great at it. Just so you know, I think my mom may be ranked in the top 100 in the country at this game.
In screen printing like any craft the difference is in the details. When you set a job up it is a race to see how perfect can you get it in the least amount of time. Nowadays with the automatic press you have what we call micro adjusters. These are little dials that allow the press to move a millimeter at a time. You can move the screens in any direction with these adjustments to make the prints look their best. The picture above is Mom's micro adjuster. She used to pound on the screen with this hammer to move it into place. If she pounded too hard, no problem, she would just pound the opposite side a little and move the screen back into place. This practice seemed to work for her but you should have seen our screens. They used to all be made out of wood and after a couple months of the Susan Gibby treatment they would just fall apart. I remember buying new screens and just cringing when I would hear that very distinctive sound of Mom "micro-adjusting" her screens.
These are just a few of the stories that I have about Sue. We are going to have a party for her on January 20th where we can talk about many more great things about her. Everyone is invited to join us. We will have some food, some drink and absolutely no screen printing tests! Please come between 2pm and 4pm on Thursday January 20th so you can say goodbye to "MOM".
If anyone has a message for Sue please "POST A COMMENT" to this post. I am going to make a shirt for her with all the comments on it.