Champaign mainstay Dixon Graphics acquires fellow stalwart Weiskamp Screen Printing

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Sep. 15—CHAMPAIGN — A successful 20-year printing business in Champaign has acquired one of its competitors.

Dixon Graphics, a commercial printing business, bought out Weiskamp Screen Printing, taking on all the Weiskamp employees and its building at 312 S. Neil St.

"Two years ago, we started screen printing as another option to offer our customers," said Lance Dixon, owner of Dixon Graphics, which mostly makes printed paper products such as brochures, business cards and newsletters.

"Acquiring Weiskamp allows us to become a major production facility for screenprint and embroidery," Dixon said of the mostly clothing-related business.

Ed Weiskamp, 62, who founded his business in 1986, said he never intended on staying in it for so long.

"I think it's a good match. I think the employees are being left in good hands, and he'll do real well with the customers," Weiskamp said of Dixon. "We run the businesses in similar ways so the transition will be easy. It's a good thing."

Weiskamp said the pandemic was a hit to his business, which he had previously been approached about selling.

"I had been asked by another screen printer in town about it and turned it down," he said. "After awhile, it started to seem more attractive because I was going to retire in a few years anyway. Why have to continue to wrestle with COVID on top of everything and then retire? It makes it easier to say yes."

Weiskamp has plenty of interests to keep him occupied beyond projects his wife has lined up for him. Those include spending time with his children, both locally and in Chicago; target shooting; learning French; and boxing.

"Normally, it's a tight day," he said of life without going to the shop.

Dixon said the addition of Weiskamp's 11 employees brings his staff to 22. He hopes to add about three more customer-service representatives.

"As a union print shop, our employees are compensated at a level higher than the industry standard for central Illinois," Dixon said. "Our screen-printing staff from Dixon Graphics (105 W. John St., C) has moved to the Neil Street location, which brought an immediate boost in productivity to the screen-printing operation."

Customers of Weiskamp are unlikely to notice much of a change in business practices, said Dixon, who is floating between facilities most days now.

One thing that won't change is the dedication of part of the picture windows that face South Neil Street to public art.

"Half of the windows are just advertisements," Dixon said of the portion that Weiskamp formerly used to display colorful T-shirts and sometimes have Sunday breakfast in with his children or guests while waving to passing motorists. "The other half is a project called Light Box. We coordinate with 40 North (Champaign County Arts Council). We are going to continue that.

"On a quarterly basis, we donate space to an artist and give money to the artist so they can have a budget to create something interesting. That changes four times a year so we hope to continue that," Dixon said.

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