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Island Embroidery moves into new Front Street home

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At a time when it seems like many small and medium sized companies are packing their bags and leaving Hamilton, one local shop is moving into the City.

Island Embroidery, which creates promotional items and garments, moved from their space on Mill Reach Lane, Pembroke, to the East end of Front Street, in the former Wheels cycle shop.

The store officially opened on January 9 and the 2,600-square-foot space will now be home to Island Embroidery’s production room as well as its showroom.

Owners Chuck and Denise Millican are excited about the new location, where they have redone the entire interior of the space.

“We’re very excited,” said Mr Millican, who employs four full-time employees and two part-time employees. “We came from the back part of town where there was no foot traffic to more visibility on Front Street.”

He said that their signs just went up and already they are seeing an increase in traffic.

“Our new location has certainly made people more curious and will walk in to check us out,” he said.

The shop offers embroidery, silk screening, heat transfer printing services as well as a new printing process called sublimation, which what Mr Millican says is the newest thing in the printing industry.

The process uses heat to transfer dye onto a variety of materials such as a plastic card, paper, or fabric. The sublimation name is applied because the dye transitions between the solid and gas states without going through a liquid stage.

As for many retailers, the first quarter of the year is typically slow for business but this year, he said Island Embroidery is “actually ahead of normal”.

Asked if his corporate sales has been hurt due to the struggling economy he said: “In some respects, yes, all the companies have cut down on their marketing budgets from what they used to be, however, while they might be ordering in smaller quantities, they are still ordering.”

He added that they have a wide customer base that includes not just corporate clients but restaurants, sports teams and individuals, such as those throwing bachelorette parties as well.

Island Embroidery was formed in 1996 initially as a business creating uniforms for sports teams. Mr Millican, who is by trade a boat sail maker, was the coach for Bermuda’s Olympic sailing team in the 1990s. When he took the team to the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Bermuda’s team didn’t have uniforms. “Our team showed up in t-shirts and flip flops, it was embarrassing,” he said.

Being no stranger to a sewing machine, when Mr Millican returned to Bermuda, he decided to make his team’s uniforms. He did so again for the team’s 1996 trip to the Atlanta Olympics.

Since its initial set up with one sewing machine, Island Embroidery added a second machine in 1998, a four-head Barudan machine in 2000 and a third single head machine in 2002.

The shop is open Monday through Friday, 10am to 5pm and will be holding an open house for new and existing clients on February 29.

New premises: Denise and Chuck Millican of Island Embroidery (Photo by Mark Tatem)
Denise and Chuck Millican of Island Embroidery (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published February 02, 2012 at 1:00 am (Updated February 02, 2012 at 7:06 am)

Island Embroidery moves into new Front Street home

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