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Oak Harbor teacher, coach expands screen printing business
After spending six years in his garage, Eric Peterson’s business has a store front.
“It’s grown enough to be able to purchase this space,” said Peterson, Ashley’s Design owner.
“It’s still blowing me away.”
Peterson started the shirt screen-printing company, Ashley’s Design, because of his experience trying to order custom printed T-shirts. He’s the Oak Harbor High School cross country head coach and the girls’ track team head coach. When the teams ordered shirts, sometimes they would not receive them for six to eight weeks.
Peterson thought there must be an easier and more efficient way of getting shirts, so he created Ashley’s Design with the focus of having fast turnaround times for orders. He makes sure orders are delivered in two weeks.
Now that he’s at his new location in Trader’s Village, 390 N.E. Midway Blvd., Suite A105, he has a lot more room.
“When you start taking up two spare bedrooms and half the garage, people are not going to be happy about it,” Peterson said.
He purchased new equipment to expand the business’ capacity for orders as well. With his old machine he could print 35-40 shirts an hour manually, but now can print 300-400 an hour.
With the expansion, Peterson said they are now selling letterman jackets. High schoolers from Oak Harbor and Coupeville can try-on jackets there and order them.
Besides coaching, Peterson teaches business marketing and runs the DECA business club at the high school. The shop prints most of the shirts for the high school clubs and sports teams and now employees two part-time employees who are also students. He said his business is a great learning experience for them.
Kali Linson is a junior at Oak Harbor High School. She’s been working at the shop since it opened at the Trader’s Village location Sept. 25.
“More and more people started coming in since I started,” said Linson. “There’s been steady growth.”
She likes working at Ashley’s Design because there’s always something to do.
“I like meeting people and making connections,” Linson said.
The name of the business came from Peterson’s niece, Ashley, who was 8 years old at the time he started screen printing.
“She is so creative and artistic, just seemed like the perfect name,” Peterson said.
Ashley came to see the shop for the first time for the grand opening and was excited, Peterson said.
The grand opening was Tuesday, Dec. 10.
Peterson also screen-prints for businesses, as well as special functions. Those interested can go to the web site and choose a pre-made design, or they can bring in their own designs. Whatever people are looking for, he’s more than happy to work with them.