A quintessential Oxford business moves to a new, larger location
● By Steven Hoffman
Howett’s Screen Printing & Embroidery has a new home at 113 South Third Street, but owners Scott Gold III and Dan Greer have the same old commitment to quality that has made this one of the town’s quintessential businesses for decades.
The celebration of the new, larger store took place on June 5, a few months after the store actually moved from its previous location on South Street.
Gold said that after more than a dozen years at the previous location, they wanted more space to process orders of t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats. The building at 113 South Third Street offers about 4,000 square feet of space.
“It enables us to have a larger showroom,” Gold explained. “The production area is larger for when we want to ramp up for a larger order.”
Howett’s got its start in 1978 when local teacher Ken Howett started a printing business in his home with his wife, Cookie. The shop quickly became the place to go for custom printing needs, especially for organizations in the Oxford community.
Gold started in the business in 1994, and Howett’s Printing had already built a stellar reputation.
“When I first started,” Gold said, “everyone knew that you go to Howett’s to get your shirts and uniforms.”
Gold became a part-owner of the business in 1999. A few years later, Greer joined the Howett’s team. At first, it was just a summer job, but it quickly became a full-time position for him. He became a co-owner in 2004.
Gold and Greer are both involved in the Oxford community, and they take very seriously the obligation of living up to the reputation that the business has.
“We’ve really been able to grow with the local community,” Gold said, explaining that the average number of orders per week now exceeds 30, which keeps the staff very busy.
Many of the relationships that Howett’s Printing maintains stretch back years. Herr Foods is one long-time customer. The Lighthouse Youth Center in Oxford is another. So are the Oxford Golden Bears organization and the Oxford wrestling program. Howett’s Printing also does work year after year for many schools throughout the area.
Greer said that when he first started in the business, he was surprised at the reach of the business—one regular client is a camp from Lewes, Del.
Howett’s Printing has built the business on the quality of the work and good customer service, relying on their clients to spread the word. That strong reputation helps them compete during a time when a lot of different companies are offering printing services online.
“The Internet is very competitive, but we offer better service at a good price,” Gold said, explaining that people often want to be able to come in and see or touch an actual shirt that they’ve produced. It’s also an advantage that customers can come in and talk to either Greer or Gold about their orders. Each order is customized, and the graphics work rises above the quality that is often found by companies on the Internet.
Gold and Greer also understand the needs of their longtime customers.
“There are some jobs that, based on the time of year, you know just about what day certain orders are going to come in,” explained Gold.
They take great pride in delivering orders to their customers on time.
“If we tell you it’s going to be done, it’s going to be done,” Greer said, explaining that he and Gold both feel a responsibility to exceed their customers’ expectations when it comes to the quality of the work and service.
The products going out the door may not have their names on them, but after more than a decade of running the business together, Greer and Gold are committed to ensuring that Howlett’s Printing maintains its good reputation after 37 years in business. Even though they have run Howett’s Printing together for more than a decade, they feel no need to change the name of the business.
“We thought briefly about changing the name,” Greer admitted. “But then we thought, why?”
Why, indeed. The quality of the business is the same as it has always been.
Howett’s Printing is located, for the first time, in the business district, a fact that the owners are very pleased about.
“We’re Oxford guys,” said Greer. “We like the fact that when we bought this building, we became a part of the revitalization of Oxford.”