A ‘sign’ of growth in Chambersburg: Beam Graphix opens downtown

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – When Beam Graphix Custom Print Co. moved from South Carolina to Pennsylvania, a taste of northern hospitality led it to a space in downtown Chambersburg.

Owner Doug Counts and his wife, Allison, moved to the borough to be closer to her parents after the birth of their first child, Charlotte, in August. Three years ago, Doug took over Beam Graphix, which his parents ran on Hilton Head Island, S.C., for 15 years. The business creates signs and banners, and also does screen printing, embroidery, trophies, engraving and heat transfers.

Counts said he chose the 3,000-square-foot space at 29 S. Main St. because he liked the downtown culture, which was similar to what he experienced in South Carolina.

“I just want to be part of that type of family,” Counts said of the business community in downtown Chambersburg.

He moved into the building Oct. 15, then had to work through the permitting process and get the building up to code before opening Jan. 13. He remodeled the front half of the store, which housed Printaway for several decades, to include a showroom for displaying the trophies, hats, shirts and other items that Beam offers. Counts plans to repaint the exterior in the spring.

“It was very stressful,” Counts said of relocating. “It was a big process,” especially moving the machinery used for the various services provided. “We kind of dove all in and expected the best.”

Counts, 29, has been involved with the business since early high school.

“I kind of grew up around it,” he said.

Before working in the printing/engraving business, his father, Doug, owned a cabinet company called Beam Graphix. His mother, Janet, worked in the communications business, then opened a sporting-goods store. His dad sold the cabinetry business and started working with her. When a major sporting-goods chain moved into their area and took away a lot of business, they grew the screen printing, engraving and embroidery side of it, which worked out well.

Counts was a golf professional in Hilton Head until his mother was diagnosed with cancer, at which point he turned his attention to her and helping with the business. She died in July 2017.

His father is retired and now lives in Georgia, but continues to do some large-format printing. The younger Doug said they are in touch three to four times a week and often help each other with clients.

While Counts is building his patron base from the Chambersburg space, he continues to work with about 10 of the 20 clients he had in South Carolina, some of whom are schools, small construction and heating/air conditioning businesses, and sports teams. He offers free shipping to his out-of-town clients, including those in South Carolina, New York and Massachusetts. Among them is the PGA tour, specifically the RBC Heritage, a tournament in Hilton Head Island for which Beam Graphix prints the signage, tee boxes and banners.

Among his other noteworthy creations are “big, enormous, obnoxious type” trophies for fantasy football leagues and embroidery on the suits worn by a senior Indy tour driver, on which he had to use fireproof thread. Common orders are for T-shirts, plaques, logos on tumblers and trophies for sports banquets.

Counts said the price range for his merchandise is broad, depending on the quantity, item ordered, logo and size. For instance, one T-shirt can cost $20, while one trophy could sell for $100.

Counts sees a lot of room for his business in Franklin County, Pa., especially since Blue Mountain Sports Apparel Inc. is the only other local business offering services similar to those of Beam Graphix.

“There’s a big opportunity for that type of business” in the downtown area, Counts said. “Hopefully, it will fall into place.”

Downtown Chambersburg Inc. President Sam Thrush appreciates Beam’s ability to provide printed garments and engraving downtown.

“He’s able to add yet another garment/engraving business in our community,” Thrush said, adding that patrons can email a file to the business, walk over a few minutes later to discuss specifics, then stay in the vicinity for a meal.

Beam Graphix is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, and Saturdays by appointment. For more information, call 717-660-2727 or find Beam Graphix Custom Print Company on Facebook.

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