Snapdragon, a longtime screen printing shop in Wilmington with a focus on original art, has made some changes under new ownership.
Two brothers, Zack and Tom Weaver, purchased Snapdragon last year and have been spending the past several months making some improvements and remodeling the print shop located at 1220 Dock St. in Wilmington. The business has been in the Wilmington area for more than 30 years.
The Weaver brothers purchased the business from former owner Bob Bernard, who was “ready to retire and approached Zack about purchasing,” Tom Weaver said. Zack Weaver had worked for Snapdragon for more than 10 years as an artist and printer, prior to the brothers' purchase.
To go into business with his brother, Tom Weaver sold his house in Michigan and moved to Wilmington. Since the Weaver brothers closed on the purchase of the business, the shop has seen a “smooth transition” with the new ownership, they said.
The Weaver brothers recently shared plans to relocate the business to a bigger shop next year, with their sights set on either the Castle Street Arts and Antique District or the Brooklyn Arts District.
"In early 2019, I hope to have a new building picked out. There will be a little bit of expansion with a bigger space, and we hope to combine [the space] into an art gallery and studio, along with our screen printing," Tom Weaver said.
The feel of those Wilmington districts goes very well with the theme of the business, which not only runs screen printing, graphic design and monogramming but also allows the opportunity for local artists to showcase their work, Zack Weaver said.
"I have maintained an art studio for the past eight years here in town, so I wouldn't mind combining it all into one space. I have a lot of artist friends in town who also maintain art studios outside of the home. So when the time comes, if we can all combine into one area, it would benefit the art community I am a part of, in addition to maintaining the business of Snapdragon,” Zack Weaver said.
Art is a side focus of the shop in which the Weaver brothers aim to do more with its future relocation.
Meanwhile, they continue to branch out into the local business market and get to know the community, Tom Weaver said. On the printing side of the business, the print shop has expanded with an additional six-color press machine, hired two new employees and is now selling original designs at the shop as well as offering embroidery.
The additional employees are giving Zack Weaver more time to focus on the art, he said.
The company deals with local groups, including clients such as the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher and Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center and local bars such as Barbary Coast and High Tide Lounge. The company prints on a range fabrics from T-shirts (right
) to blankets and bags.
In the future, the company is looking at getting into more original designs and plans to offer more affordable organic options and American-made goods to its customers.
For the future of the business, Zack Weaver said, “I'd like to maintain the strong customer base that we have while expanding into more artistic avenues, strengthening our ties to the community and do what we can to work with more nonprofits and things of that nature.
“And just working more directly with artists too, to help them get their art out there onto sellable merchandise. It's a hard town to make your money on just selling original paintings," he said. "So anything we can do to help artists put a little money in their pockets."