Creating a local ink Infusion
Alex Bava is one of the newest entrepreneurs to open a business in Prineville.
Bava recently opened a screen-printing business called Churro Ink, and his vision of the business is a full-service apparel supply. He does screen printing for T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats. He also offers custom embroidery services. Bava has suppliers who can get hats, jackets and other apparel on which customers can add embroidery. In addition, he has a source to get high quality laser-engraved leather that can be sewed onto apparel.
Bava's Churro Ink has been approved by the city of Prineville to operate as a residential at-home business, located in a large shop on Southeast Court Street.
He learned the trade of screen printing in 2010 in Western Oregon while in a program called "Teen Challenge." While there, he learned about the trade, and in 2011, he moved to Bend.
"It was a change of pace for me, and a total 180-degree transition, which is what I needed at the time 10 years ago," he pointed out about this turning point in his life. The program had a T-shirt shop, and it was there that Bava learned the basic skills of the screen-printing trade.
While living in Bend, he found employment in the screen-printing industry working for a couple of businesses. He also spent a short time in California, furthering his skills in the trade. He and his wife moved back to Bend in 2015.
Bava's parents bought some property on Court Street, and it had a large shop. Bava immediately envisioned the shop space for his screen printing business, even though at the time it needed a lot of work.
"We have always been intrigued with Prineville, and the community and economy here, and I think it's up and coming," he commented.
He feels that Prineville is a desirable place to live and raise a family.
"When I first saw the space, I was like, 'this is the perfect size for a screen-printing shop.' So my dad gave me the blessing to renovate the space."'
Bava has spent the past year replacing and finishing drywall, cleaning and staining the floor, and adding utilities and water. He also added a dark room and added a wall for the screen making area for his stencils.
The process that Bava uses for this method of screen-printing dates back as far as the early 1900s. It is quite popular in India, Asia and Mexico.
"It's the main way of decorating apparel, large tapestries and sheets (in those countries)," he commented. "The coolest part about it is it's the longest-lasting and quality way to decorate a textile, because the ink is impressioned into the fabric and cured at a really high temperature. It's doesn't wash out and it doesn't fade, as opposed to iron-on decorative techniques."
He works with a graphic designer for custom designs, so customers can get what they want in their designs.
"My gifting is in the application of the artwork and this medium, and that's where I really feel is my strong suite," he added.
For his embroidery, Bava also relies on a contractor who does the embroidery work.
"I have a relationship with an embroiderer who does fantastic work, and she does all my embroidery. She is very reasonably priced."
Bava attributes his skills in screen-printing and starting up a business to several of his former mentors who have been an inspiration to him. Shawn McCallister is a talented printer in Bend whom he respects in the industry. He also had incredible support from the owner of Destined Clothing in Bend, Blake Chastain.
"He has been like my guiding mentor through this whole process to get this off the ground," Bava pointed out. "He is the 'man of quality.' There is nothing that goes out of his shop that isn't perfectly done. He has really mentored me in that and tried to help me share his success with producing really quality printed garments."
Pete West, owner of Megaphone Coffee Company in Bend, is a well-established business owner.
"His wisdom in walking in the entrepreneur calling has just been so valued to me in this early stage of this journey that I am in," he expressed. "I feel like he has been a huge influencer in giving me affirmation and encouragement every step of the way. He has really stepped in like big brother Pete, 'you can do this, and I am going to help push you to step into this, and may it be a blessing to the people of Prineville."'
"That is my heart, that is my desire, and my desire for this screen-printing business is not to just put out quality printed material or T-shirts or hats or whatever, but it's to become in a relationship with members of the community and see how this can impact other people's lives, careers and businesses and their own journey. It's so cool I get to play a part in that."
Owner: Alex Bava
Address: 397 SE Court St., Prineville, OR 97754
Contact phone: 541-219-6688
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