It started with running. The Bird Family helped organize and assist with many local 5k races, and like at most races, there was always a need for t-shirts–and the family saw that need. Around that time, a nearby screen printing business came up for sale so they jumped on the opportunity and purchased the equipment. Soon after, Running Around Screen Printing came about in 2005, and relocated the business to West Keiser Road in Columbia City.
“The business started in my basement,” said Running Around Owner Jo Ann Bird, “And then we added embroidery in 2008 which then took up space on the main floor of our house.”
It didn’t take long for Running Around to outgrow their current space in the house, so in 2011 they moved the production out of the house to a 440 square-foot-building on their property.
Running Around has continued to grow. With the combination of growth and Jo Ann’s passion for downtown Columbia City, it was time for Running Around to once again, relocate. If you haven’t noticed the neon t-shirt display in the former Columbia House Interiors building–it’s the future home of Running Around Screen Printing, in downtown Columbia City.
“The staff at Running Around is excited to be a part of the revitalization of downtown Columbia City, and to be an active part of amazing events that are already in place,” Jo Ann said.
The anticipated opening date of the new location is this summer. The space will allow for additional production space with room to grow, and a retail store.
“The retail side will offer, what my customers have been asking for, and will carry school spirit wear, merchandise promoting Whitley County and Columbia City, and seasonal merchandise.”
Jo Ann said word-of-mouth advertising and referrals have been key contributors for the growth of the business.
Running Around currently offers screen printing, embroidery, digital printing, full-color yard signs, banners, custom orders with no minimum quantity and event printing from the Running Around mobile truck. This summer, Running Around will introduce direct-to-garment printing, unlimited colors on garments with the feel of screen printing as a finished product.
What Jo Ann enjoys most about the business is interacting with customers and going on the road to events with the mobile printing truck. Jo Ann said the most challenging part about being a business owner is balancing all of the tasks. “As as an entrepreneur you can’t do it all, find committed people to assist with the business.”
Jo Ann’s advice for entrepreneurs is to be patient. “Know what you want and write it down and be opened minded, you never know when sharing your ideas with the right person can make all the difference. Gain a pocketful of advisors and mentors. The Whitley County Economic Development staff has been the most valuable, from attending classes to strategic planning.”
To learn more about Running Around Screen Printing visit their website. Stay connected with Running Around by “liking” the Running Around Screen Printing Facebook page.
Jo Ann in the mobile Running Around printing truck
The Future Running Around Screen Printing