Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County — The sound of automatic presses filled Axelrad Printing in Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday. The company specializing in bulk printing, contract printing and embroidery moved into a vacant warehouse on North Pennsylvania Avenue earlier this year. The printing business began as a hobby in 2003 for co-owners Dave Maloney and Matt Trievel while the two friends were in college. But in 2010, they decided to make it their life’s work.
“We basically looked at it as tee-shirts weren’t going digital in a digital age. Paper printing and all that stuff is going digital. We figured a human can’t go digital. You could always advertise on a shirt. We pushed that idea and it kind of worked out,” said Mr. Maloney.
So much so that Axelrad Printing fulfills orders all across the country printing on average 8,000 to 10,000 shirts per day. “They’re coming to little local Wilkes-Barre – to us – because they saw something they liked so that’s really a good feeling,” said Kate Martin. She is one of the company’s three graphic designers coming up with the creations depicted on the clothing. “I kind of get some pride to look at it and say, you know. I did that and you know that’s always fun.”
Tom Alper operated one of five manual presses in part of the building while screen printer Todd Sabecky worked in a mass production area featuring five automatic presses. They are among 16 full time employees and four part-timers.
With all of their success, Axelrad Printing now has something else to brag about: an order for more than 200,000 screen-printed shirts. It’s their biggest order to date. That order of 210,000 “Breaking Benjamin” shirts will be sold online and at the band’s concert tour stops like Scranton Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain this Friday. “It’s amazing. It’s everything you want. You know, hopefully the work reflects more along the same lines,” said Mr. Trievel.
While Axelrad Printing does the bulk of its business on line, it does take walk-up orders. You can learn more about that by clicking here.