Business in Bartow: Eagle Sportz covers the bases with on-site, in-house printing
by Matt Shinall
Mar 05, 2012 | 1928 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The screen printing production area operates at Eagle Sportz where products are being produced for events being held nationwide. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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With dozens of employees scattered across the Southeast serving thousands of customers each weekend, White-based Eagle Sportz is thriving in a fast-paced, demanding sector of the custom printing industry.

Through on-site event screen printing, Eagle Sportz covers the nation with mobile printing units serving sports teams, civic organizations, festivals and conventions. From the Bartow County headquarters, events are reserved, travel and logistics are planned, and local customers are served for a variety of printing needs.

"We are a very diverse screen printing operation. We screen print all types of textiles from one T-shirt to literally thousands," said Operations Manager Tony Bolick. "We screen print for clubs, businesses, schools -- all the basic type of things that screen printing companies do but we are actually printing for people all over the country, not just in the immediate area. Our big specialty is doing souvenir apparel for events. In the last four weeks, we've run close to 200 events this month alone and we do this year-round."

With an automated printing operation and specialized cutting systems, Eagle Sportz is capable of producing thousands of T-shirts or one-off customizable products.

"We're not just a small screen printing company doing a few T-shirts here and there, we take care of one customer as well as taking care of 1,000 at a time," Bolick said. "We are an extremely customer service-oriented company. Our turnaround is very, very fast. West Georgia College ordered 10,000 shirts from us this past fall and we delivered them in a week."

Four full-time artists with nearly 100 years of graphic design experience between them work with a staff of 24 at the White facility while another two dozen employees work from satellite facilities across the Southeast for event coverage.

"We have permanent crews located in five Southern states. We've got nine in North Carolina, three in Tennessee, four in Florida, one in Alabama and all the rest of the people are based out of White," Bolick said. "We've been averaging around 40 to 45 events a weekend that we have crews on location working. Our high so far this year has been 55 events in one weekend."

The company, recognized last year by the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce as Small Business of the Year, attributes much of their success to the people that work for them and a mutually beneficial business model. Their on-site event printing has been structured to put money back in the pockets of event organizers. Costing organizers nothing to attend, Eagle Sportz then returns a percentage of all sales to the hosting organization.

"Basically, when we do our events, there is no cost to the organization that we're working for. We've eliminated their risk factor, [in 2010] we put over $276,000 back into clubs, businesses and organizations that we worked for," Bolick said. "If it rains them out, it hasn't cost them a dime. With the economy the way it is and the cutback in funding for schools and organizations, we're a sure way for a group to raise money and not have to spend money."

Although many of the company's staff is spread across neighboring states and beyond, customer service representatives take time to call on local schools, businesses and organizations.

"The person we've never met that walks in off the street that wants one T-shirt, we give them as much time and attention as the lady that books us to do 1,000 T-shirts on one Saturday," said General Manager Malinda Davis.

The future for Eagle Sportz is looking bright as the company has recently launched an ecommerce program. Currently in the beginning stages, an e-store is available now for the upcoming National Horseshoe Pitching Championship in Knoxville, Tenn. Expansion of this endeavor will allow for customers to purchase single or multiple T-shirts before or after an event. Eventually, Eagle Sportz hopes to provide an online outlet for all customizable orders.

Another goal of the company is to expand operations in White by adding equipment, facility space and employees. New equipment would allow Eagle Sportz to do "all-over" printing, a process allowing every square inch of a garment to be custom printed.

While these visions for the future may well have an impact on business, there's one more milestone that may be in the company's near future -- franchising. Franchising would allow the Eagle Sportz on-site printing service to provide coverage for events nationwide, every weekend.

"We're looking into the possibility of franchising, we have had a lot of requests. We've had calls, people interested in buying a franchise if and when we get to that point," said President Vicki Smith.

Eagle Sportz is located at 3205 Highway 411 in White. For more information, visit www.eaglesportz.com or call 770-607-6611.