IndyInk printshop and gallery celebrates a decade in Denver
In times of economic turbulence, you really see how much a local business means to a town. Faceless shops will be passed over by budget-conscious Walmart shoppers, while more memorable stores will flourish and become staples of a community that embraces them. This is certainly the case with IndyInk, the local apparel, printshop and gallery that will celebrate its tenth anniversary on Saturday, August 18. "We don't really do much advertising -- it's all been word of mouth," says co-owner Dave Roggeman. "So people get referred by somebody else, and somebody else, and somebody else. And that's how we've built our business and our reputation. People want to support local and support us, and they know that they can come in and talk to us face to face."
- Graves vs. Jive @ Indy Ink
- UMS Night Three Travelogue: The Heyday, Hideous Men at Indy Ink and more
- Today's featured event: Take in Sam Turner's toxic art at INDYINK
Tucked snugly inside the core of the Broadway shopping district, IndyInk has created a personalized space that reflects the artistic culture its shop inhabits. Selling road bikes, locally designed clothes and artwork in front, while the back rooms are active with the dirty work of screen-printing, the store has a casual -- yet inspiring -- environment that attracts local artists. And this Saturday many of those artists are coming together to celebrate IndyInk's ten years with a group show inside the store. "These are all artists that we like and have worked with in the past," says co-owner Aaron Cohrs. "These are people who have given us designs and ideas that have helped make the store what it is."
What the store is today is a far cry from the garage-based operation that started ten years ago. When they met in an Arapahoe Community College photography class fifteen years ago, Roggeman and Cohrs were both heavily interested in screen printing and design, and as their friendship developed over the years, the pair loosely discussed starting a business together. After college, Roggeman was working as a paramedic, while Cohrs was unhappy with his life as an art director. "Then Aaron called me up one day," Roggeman recalls, "and said, 'I saw this screen-printing equipment for sale, let's buy it and start printing our own shirts.'"
For the first year and a half, the IndyInk operation was located inside the garage of the Cohrs house at Evans and Washington. The partners quickly tapped into the local T-shirt market, developing quick and lasting relationships with nearby businesses. "Kaladi Brothers Coffee was one of our first clients," remembers Roggeman. "They placed an order for around 120 shirts only two days after we got the equipment." In time, the pair built a business foundation strong enough for them to afford to quit their day jobs and move into their current location at 84 South Broadway.
Cohrs and Roggeman remember the neighborhood as very different then from how it is today. "It's much safer now," observes Cohrs. "Back then there would be people sleeping in the doorway and fights all the time. There's much more of a nightlife now, more restaurants. Back then people wouldn't come down and walk around like they do today."