“You can be small and do big things.”
Daniel Ross was a skateboarder/snowboarder/skier with an artist’s eye as a 16-year-old kid in Nova Scotia. He started designing and selling shirts to his friends, because, if he could sell 11 for a buck more than it cost, he would break even on 12 and have a new shirt for himself.
In Grade 10, things became more serious, as he took a drafting class, fine-tuned his skills, and built his own press out of wood. By Grade 12, his sales reached $74,000. His hobby of making shirts for himself had officially become a full-fledged business in Ross Screenprint. As he puts it, he “went against the grain, and had too much pride to stop.”
Daniel chuckles over the countless sleepless nights of his youth, as he was determined to meet clients’ needs, deadlines. As a young business, it was easy to make too many commitments with great intentions, causing many all-nighters. “No wonder I have grey hair,” he laughs.
Those tough nights of a prideful, young entrepreneur were long gone, though. Things were going well with big connections across the globe. At the start of the year, Ross Screenprint purchased a new, bigger building, new equipment, expanded stock; but then COVID-19 hit.
Sales dropped by 91% in May alone. Panic set in that he hadn’t felt since those early years of sleeplessly scrambling to meet demands and deadlines. The fear of losing a 30-year-old business that he started before he was even done with high school crept into his mind, as it has for a plethora of businesses across Nova Scotia.
But something started shifting in Canada as the pandemic has lingered on. People and Corporations started caring more than ever about other local businesses and keeping things close to home. Supporting local means making sure fellow Nova Scotians could survive through this hardship.
Things have turned up dramatically for Daniel since that painful May. Corporate orders exploded, leaving his September of 2020 bigger and better than September last year. Daniel’s quality and timeliness is unparalleled, so it’s easy to support. Cape Smokey can attest to that. We decided we wanted face masks for our Microbrewery Festival in August, and he had them designed, printed, and out the door in less than a week.
“It feels like a pizza place, taking mask orders every second call! Thousands upon thousands of masks have been sold this year,” Daniel exclaims. Cape Smokey is clearly not alone in wanting to include mask merchandise for customers and staff. It’s become a massive new market for Ross Screenprint, and has helped keep the business booming through the pandemic.
For an entrepreneur who has occasionally taken on more commitments than he could handle, he says that he’s “a little more thankful now when those people walk in his door,” as he realizes along with other Nova Scotians how important it is it stay, shop, connect locally.
Cape Smokey is excited to keep Daniel and his team busy, as we bring great quality products to Ingonish. Supporting local doesn’t mean sacrificing quality, timeliness, or money. Sometimes, and certainly at Ross Screenprint, “You can be small, and do big things.”