Pressing Onward: Local couple adds new press to their business
NASHUA – After building their business up with a couple hundred dollars and a manual printing press, Mint Printworks in Nashua will be installing a $150,000 state-of-the-art press next week.
This piece of equipment arrived a couple weeks ago, but had to sit in storage in a downstairs section of the W.H. Bagshaw Co. Inc. building at 1 Pine St. until Friday morning when a crew came to bring it up to the second floor, where their office is located.
“We ran into a little roadblock,” Tyler Gauthier, co-owner, said. “The press has actually been here for a couple of weeks, but there was a logistics issue getting it into the freight elevator. It wouldn’t fit.”
The rigging company they hired came in Friday morning, opened up a couple of floor panels that were used back in the day when the mill was in its original operation, pulled the panels out and proceeded to use a fork truck to lift the press up onto the second floor.
The press itself is 2,200 pounds and had to go up 16 feet to where it was dropped in front of the entryway to their space. They expect a technician to come by sometime next week for two days of installation work, followed by two days of training. The press is called ROQ and is put out by Ryonet.
“They’re a bunch of young like-minded screen printers at heart that are doing really good things in the industry,” Tyler said. “The machine is made in Portugal and has been sold in this country only the last, I believe, it’s five or six years, and they’re really kind of state-of-the-art in allowing a lot of printers, like us, to offer the highest level of quality and service available out there through the machine.”
However, neither Tyler nor his wife and business partner Medina Gauthier started off screenprinting with such a high-end press. Rather, it all started when Medina returned home from college and first met Tyler while he was operating out of his previous shop, called T-shirt Bodega, that had two locations in Nashua and Manchester. Medina is local to Nashua, while Tyler grew up not too far away in Salem, although he’s now been in Nashua for about 10 years. While Medina went away to school, he was hard at work developing his skills as a screen printer before the two later crossed paths.
“I started printing T-shirts like 18 years ago,” Tyler said. “I always say the ink is in my blood now, and I’m a lifer. I’ll be printing T-shirts forever, I think.”
Nonetheless, Medina was off at school in Boston for theater, and said she was teaching theater for a little while when she met Tyler, popping into his shop on Main Street in Nashua. At the same time, she was also working for her parents, who own Persian Rug Gallery in Nashua.
“I kind of was doing theater, doing that job, and I was away for about 10 years to Emerson College, and then when I met him, I started helping out at his T-shirt shop. Being raised in a family business, I was really enjoying that,” Medina said.
She said Tyler’s business then separated, going different ways, and the two of them had decided to head to Hawaii for a year of fun. While there, Tyler, being a diehard screenprinter, kept up with his passion, while Medina waitressed.
“Then, when we came back, we had a lot of his customers that were doing shirts still and weren’t as happy and missed us and wanted to get with us,” Medina said. “They kind of convinced us to sort of buy that equipment and start in our attic.”
The couple’s business began in the attic of their apartment in Nashua with a couple hundred bucks on a credit card. Tyler said the first press they used was bought brand-new, just a small manual press.
“From there, we have always bought gently used screen printing equipment and just give it the T-L-C it needs to operate,” Tyler said. “It was about seven years ago when we started, and it’s been a steady growth. It’s all been word of mouth and referrals.”
However, they said they do market with area nonprofits for events, which is something they take a lot of pride in. They will work with the nonprofits in exchange for some sponsorships and have done work for organizations like Girls Inc., the YMCA, Positive Street Art and more.
They’re also the ones printing 5,000 shirts for the Texas Roadhouse Homes for Our Troops benefit ride, happening Sunday in Nashua, although those shirts will be divided amongst other rides going on across the country.
They have able to get to the point where they’re able to crank out so many T-shirts by taking care of their customers and just communicating. About a year after operating out of their attic, they moved into the Picker Building in Nashua, where they maintained a small studio for the next couple years, which is where they met Kirsten Smith from Texas Roadhouse and began printing shirts for their benefit ride.
“That’s when it got real,” Tyler said in reference to moving into that new space. He said people began seeing where they were, and that the people renting to them now at their Pine Street location were customers of theirs at that point while in the Picker building. They said that customer, and now leaser, Aaron Bagshaw, mentioned he had a space available in his building, and once they walked in to check out the space, Tyler and Medina both agreed they were sold.
“They have been so enthusiastic and supportive of us as a young business, young family business, and they’re a family business,” Tyler said. “So, they’ve helped us out along the way, and we kind of look up to them and are very thankful for their support.”
However, looking back to the early days of working within the Pine Street space, Medina said, “We were like wow, this space is way too big for us, how are we going to fill it, and now over the course of the last two years we’ve done little jut-outs because we still need more space.”
Tyler said as they expand and require more space to operate, that Bagshaw will find them the space they need, having already knocked some walls down for expansion in the four years they’ve occupied the spot.
Since starting the company together, they’ve now grown it to the point where they have six other employees working for them, and with this new press, they and their employees will grow together in learning how to use this high-end piece of machinery.
“It will allow us to get the same amount of work done in less time,” Tyler said. “It will kind of help facilitate our growth, and it also is a pretty slick piece of technology that will ensure quality, not that we need an improvement in quality, but the maintenance of it will be a little less.”
“If it ain’t growing, it’s dead,” Medina said.
Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or email@example.com.