Throughout the nation, the commercial printing industry has taken a hard hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. Wildes-Spirit Design & Printing, a commercial printer in White Plains, has not been exempt and took advantage of the Charles County COVID-19 Business Relief Grant and federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to stay in operation this past year.
“Wildes-Spirit has been around since 1967 in some form,” said owner, Ray Stickel. “We do full-service design, print, and mail.” Much of their business comes from live events. “I didn’t realize how dependent we were on events,” said Stickel. “and with most of those being cancelled, it really put a hit on our printing.”
While the print side of their business really took a hit, their signage business was steady due to businesses needing to let their customers know how to access their services, whether it be in-store dining, curbside pickup, or other COVID-related directions. They also printed floor stickers for social distancing and posters.
At the beginning of the pandemic, when sales dropped almost 50%, Wildes-Spirit accessed PPP loans to keep their nine workers employed. Later, working with the Charles County Economic Development Department (EDD), they received the Charles County COVID-19 Business Relief Grant. “Help from the EDD, as well as the PPP loans, made us able to keep our employees employed and pay our operating expenses during that tough time,” said Stickel.
The grant application process, according to Stickel, was easy. “We went online and filled out the paperwork, and it was unbelievable how fast the money came in,” he said. “I saw the post through your [EDD’s] E-news. We put our application together on a Friday and sent it, and someone called us over the weekend. On Monday, we got a call that we were approved.”
The good news is, last month (March 2021) was the closest-to-normal sales month for Wildes-Spirit since the pandemic started. “It wasn’t totally 100%” said Stickel, ”but we’re getting on track. It was the best one since this pandemic started.”
For more information about Wildes-Spirit, visit their website at https://www.wildes-spirit.com/. The EDD is now taking applications for COVID-related restaurant grants and hotel grants. Applications are due April 30. Click on those links to learn more.