Business Expands During Economic Downturn

The business is thriving and recently expanded its operation by moving to a larger building off West Frontier Street.

The business is thriving and recently expanded its operation by moving to a larger building off West Frontier Street. Photo by Alexis Bechman. |

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While many businesses have unraveled in recent years, one shop has imprinted a successful model of growth. Rick and Patti Korth recently moved Tonto Silkscreen and Embroidery from Main Street to a new building off West Frontier Street, increasing their square footage by 200 percent.

“We were lucky in this economy,” said Patti, “the business continues to grow.”

The Korths attribute their success to several factors, including product quality, customer service and their custom design services.

Patti said she could create just about any look or logo, in a myriad of colors and styles. And their work is well known. Besides local clients, Tonto works with fire departments, several state organizations and even a few out-of-state customers, who find their rates more reasonable, Patti said.

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Bobbi Jo Haught and Patti Korth get to “produce cool stuff every single day” at Tonto Silkscreen and Embroidery.

With so many new clients, the Korths needed a space that could handle a large, automated printing press as well as all of their supplies. The new building has a large workroom for both of their printing presses, a separate room for two embroidery machines (another one is on the way) and a third room for a machine that prints photos directly onto cloth.

Their larger silkscreen machine can put out 300 shirts an hour. Similarly, their new embroidery machine can sew more 800 stitches a minute.

The shop can print on a variety of items from T-shirts, hats and garment bags to promotional products such as water bottles, mugs and stickers.

Yet, the actual process of designing the shirts and watching the machines work is not the only interesting aspect of the Tonto Silkscreen business. The Korths began looking at equipment and financing options about two years ago. After buying the business, they remained on Main Street for almost four years, finally moving into their more spacious and newly constructed building.

Before Patti Korth became involved in the silkscreen and embroidery business, however, she ran her own drug screening and background verification company. She finally sold her other business after trying to balance doing all the artwork for Tonto Silkscreen.

Interestingly, neither Rick nor Patti Korth had a familiar background in the artwork and designing that goes into the silkscreen and embroidery business. But their hard work and meticulous practice paid off as their business began to grow.

“People come in with an idea…we help them design a shirt,” said Patti.

Furthermore, Tonto Silkscreen is also a place where employees can learn a whole new trade. It takes time, patience and skill to learn the special tricks when it comes to dealing with embroidery machines or working with the silkscreens. Thankfully, the Korths are the first ones willing to try something new.

“Doing the artwork, we get to produce cool stuff every single day,” said Patti.

So not only is a local business thriving, but teaching many new skills as well.

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