HEIDI BOWMAN For the newspaper
GOODFIELD – Jason and Cheryl Davenport, owners of JC Screen Printing, have built their business around excellent customer service. “My wife and I value our customers so much that we’ll go the extra mile, even in some cases when it’s not our fault,” Jason Davenport said. “We believe that as a customer you deserve the product you paid for. Some say we almost bend over backwards for the customer, but I really believe that goes a long way these days.”
A testament to this philosophy, JC Screen Printing has come a long way from its humble beginnings in the Davenports basement to its current thriving location at 10 Legacy Drive in Goodfield.
Jason Davenport never expected to own a screen printing business. After leaving the United States Marine Corps in the late 90s, Davenport took a job as a graphic designer at a soy chemical company. The company has manufactured a range of cleaners for the screen printing industry.
“When I was there I attended about 10-15 trade shows a year for 14 years for the screen printing market. So I was talking to the screen printers about cleaning and eventually I learned everything ‘there was something to know about screen printing,” Davenport said. He and his wife Cheryl decided to put that knowledge to use and give screen printing a try. In 2005, they started printing t-shirts on the table the kitchen and baking the shirts in the oven. Soon they bought a small press and moved everything to the basement. JC Screen Printing operated from the basement for several years.
“With word of mouth alone, the minutes turned into hours and the hours turned into the whole feel of the weekend as it just kept growing and growing.” said Davenport. In 2010, they decided to buy bigger equipment and move operations to their three-car garage. First they used one bay, then two, then three – “leaving the vehicles out in the winter cold!” He laughed. He eventually quit his job at the soy factory so he could focus on JC screen printing full time. It was “perfect timing”, he recalls, “because the following year we doubled our sales”.
In mid-2018, the couple decided to put their cars back in garages and opened their establishment at 10 Legacy Drive. The difference was like “a total night and day,” Davenport said, as they had so much more room for their ever-expanding business. “Since about 2014, the business has grown an average of 30-40% each year (excluding Covid years).” Including Jason and Cheryl, there are nine employees.
Even during the Covid years they were only down nine percent. “Which seemed like a lot to us,” Davenport recalls, “but our clothing salesperson called me specifically to ask what we were doing because nearly all of their customers were down over 65% and we were holding around 9% decline for the year.”
The answer is what has always been the answer for the Davenports: a commitment to customer service and quality workmanship.
They offer screen printing, embroidery and vinyl decoration (names and numbers on garments). In a few weeks, hardware will arrive for a new technology called DTF (Direct to Film). “It will allow us to do almost any design that is asked of us, even in one go, which was difficult to do before,” he said.
When asked to describe how screen printing works, Davenport explained that it’s a lot like stenciling on a wall. “You have a design on a board and you push the paint through the design on the wall. Printing t-shirts works the same way. We apply a design to a screen mesh [similar to a screen door, but with much smaller holes]. Then we line up the design on the press and put a particular ink color in the screen. Then we lower the screen and use a squeegee and push the ink across the screen. After lifting the screen, you can see the ink that has been pressed through the screen, remaining on the shirt. The ink does not air dry, he says; rather it should be heat cured/dried. “We take the shirt off the press and put it on a large conveyor belt that runs it through what looks like a giant pizza oven. By the way, it will heat the ink to over 325 degrees, at which time the ink will harden (and shouldn’t crack or peel from the shirt),” he said.
Davenport said he knows people are running out of time, so he wants them to have an “amazing and easy experience” with JC Screen Printing. “We know people are busy in their lives, so we try to help as much as possible and communicate with customers immediately. None of that 4 days later! We strive to respond to customers the same day if possible. This speed and respect for customers’ time makes the difference. “I can’t tell you how many jobs we’ve received, where the client said, ‘I emailed two other screen print shops and after a week still haven’t received a response – yet your company sent me the same message. day.’”
You can reach JC Screen Printing at 309-300-2772 or [email protected].