Screen-It Graphics of Lawrence Inc., the North Lawrence sportswear screening business started by former Kansas University basketball player Chris Piper, is expanding.
Piper announced today that his company, located at 315 N.E. Industrial Lane, has entered into a tentative agreement to acquire Oread Graphics Inc., 710 W. Sixth.
"We really saw it as a good fit," Piper said today. "They are primarily a sales-oriented company with great design capabilities and a network of national reps. And we felt that now is the time to strengthen our sales ability with some current developments passed by the city commission."
He explained that industrial revenue bonds and tax abatements approved last week by the Lawrence City Commission for Carrousel Printwear, 2600 Iowa, will make the market for imprinted sportswear more competitive in Lawrence.
"We needed to strengthen our own position because of the added competition that we will feel," he said. "It will expand our ability to reach more customers and try to keep up on a level playing field with other players in the area."
Piper said the imprinted sportswear market in the area "is very competitive."
"Everybody is always butting heads," he said.
Piper, who played forward on the Danny Manning-led KU team that won the national championship in 1988, started his company in June 1988.
"I went from a national championship to a national debt load," he said.
The company now has 22 employees and produces imprinted sportswear and plastic containers for a national market.
Oread Graphics Inc., which has five employees, has been in business for a year, Piper said. The tentative agreement calls for Screen-It to purchase Oread Graphics' Grandstand sportswear line.
In the agreement, Oread Graphics would cease to exist and their employees, inventory and equipment would be incorporated into Screen-It Graphics' building, he said.
Piper said his company, which exceeds $1 million in yearly sales, is running out of room at its current location and may consider a building expansion in the future.