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Silk-screening, embroidery plant grows from basement

December 01, 1998

Del Martin Screen PrintingBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Area football fans may one day see New York Giants team members lined up on their bench warming their hands in muffs sporting logos embroidered in Greencastle.

The Giants' logo is the most recognizable work done at the Del Martin Screen Printing and Embroidery Inc. plant, said Del Martin, 46, owner of he company that bears his name.

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"We just do some odds-and-ends stuff," he said.

His 12-employee company at 114 S. Antrim Way will move in February from its rented space to a new building under construction at 21 Sara Susan Lane.

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"We're not moving for more space. Actually we have 12,500 square feet here and our new building has 9,600 square feet. We're renting here. We want our own building," Martin said.

Martin and his wife, Karen, started a part-time screen printing business in the basement of their home in Chambersburg, Pa., in 1979. At the time, he was teaching technical education at Faust Junior High School in Chambersburg.

"I was teaching screen printing and people were asking me to print T-shirts for them," Martin said. " I never thought I was going to be able to support myself with it."

The business continued to grow until 1989 when it moved to its current site. Martin quit teaching a year later, his wife said.

Karen Martin handles the reception desk and waits on customers.

Martin said 70 percent of his business is wholesale. Despite embroidering New York Giants logos on hand warmers, much of the rest is local, he said.

The company screen prints or embroiders sports clothes - T-shirts, jackets, sweatshirts and hats - mostly for wholesale customers. Some of the company's local customers are area school teams and teams sponsored by local organizations, Martin said.

The plant's largest order to date was for 15,000 monogrammed T-shirts. "If we worked full time on them we could have had them done in about three weeks," he said.

About 70 percent of his business is screen printing. The operation is done on an octopus-like machine on which a worker slides a blank shirt. The shirt moves around the machine to different inking and drying stations.

The clothes are embroidered on banks of sewing machines governed by computers that direct the stitching needles according to the design.

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