Impressions - October/November 2013 - (Page 48)

Shop SPOTLIGHT F&E Sportswear Corp. In addition to offering screen On the Right Track Richard Patino bought F&E Sportswear with zero industry experience and drove it to success. By Michelle M. Havich, Managing Editor i n 1997, Richard Patino was living in Colombia and looking to buy a business in the United States. After a conversation with the owner of F&E Sportswear, a small screen printing and embroidery shop in Alabama, Patino realized he had found a good fit. He purchased the company, which was founded in 1979, and headed to the States. To say his learning curve was big would be an understatement. Patino knew about businesses and had even worked with American companies — but always overseas. Owning a U.S. business was different. “I had to learn how to run this company,” he says. The old owner, who Patino had hoped would teach him the ropes, decided to leave, so Patino was on his own. There also was the small matter of being a newcomer to the decorated apparel industry. “When I first started, I used to call [the ink] paint,” Patino says. “I had to be reminded that we work with ink, not paint.” Also, the practice of referring to products 48 Impressions | October/November 2013 printing and embroidery, F&E Sportswear also does vinyl car wraps that are printed on a 54-inch Roland printer. F&E Sportswear Corp. At A Glance Company Name: F&E Sportswear Corp. Address: 1230 Newell Pkwy. Montgomery, Ala. 36110 Founded: 1979 No. of Employees: 65 Decorating Methods Offered: Screen printing, embroidery, promotional products, signs and banners, car wraps Company Website: by their style numbers got to him. “It was confusing,” he says. “I would think, ‘What are they talking about?’.” So, Patino went to seminars, took classes and did everything he could to learn the decorated apparel business from the ground up. “I learned by doing,” he says. “I made mistakes and I learned from them.” He also reached out to F&E’s original vendors. “I called them and said, ‘If you help me and work with me, and be honest with me, I’ll be with you forever,’” Patino says. “Ninety percent listened to me. They were excellent, and they are still with me.” In all, Patino says, it took about two or three years to “really get my feet wet, but I had to learn all the ins and outs.” FIVE-FOLD GROWTH When Patino bought F&E, it was housed in a 10,000-square-foot shop that included one older, four-color automatic screen printing machine and three manual machines. He knew that in order to grow his business, he would face challenges and competition. “Once you start growing, you see people come in and go out of business yearly,” he says. “You can’t just offer lower prices, because you have your people to take care of. I decided not to compete with pricing, but to compete with quality and how good I could do the job.” The idea worked. Patino says F&E has probably grown five-fold since he bought it. Now located in a 50,000-square-foot building in Montgomery, the shop still offers quality screen printing and embroidery, but it has expanded to also offer promotional products, signs, graphics and car wraps.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Impressions - October/November 2013

Impressions - October/November 2013
First Impressions
From the Show Director
Product Gallery
ISS Conferences
Allover Printing: It's All Over America
The Digital Direction
Peak Performance
Tracking Trends is Key to Business Survival
Shop Spotlight
Shop Spotlight
Embroidery Design & Digitizing
Embroidery Technique
Screen Printing Production
Screen Printing Technique
Online Directory
Digital Decorating
Ad Index

Impressions - October/November 2013