LIMESTONE —Owned by Joe Lapierre, BLVD Graphix will provide customers with trophies, banners, vinyl graphics, embroidery, promotional printing, vinyl wraps, silk screening, magnetic signs as well as regular signs when it opens in February. Where as some of the services Lapierre will be providing are completely new to Aroostook County, other areas of his business will be improving on services offered by other businesses.
“One of the things I can do that no one else up here does are custom designs,” Lapierre said.
Utilizing his degree in drafting and design, he can use equipment to make completely customized items for customers.
“Nobody up here designs their own stuff,” he said, “if you want something on a hat or a shirt, you have to either pick it out from a book or the business has to send it out somewhere to get it digitized. By the time it comes back, it may not even be what you wanted. With my design background, I’ll be able to do anything, you name it; I can draw the image for the customer, put it in the digitizing software, and embroider it. There’s no waiting around for things to get done and you’re not spending money on something you may not even like, so I’ve got the market cornered on that,” Lapierre added.
Automotive vinyl wraps are another service Lapierre will provide that previously has gone untouched in The County.
“I don’t know anyone up here who does vinyl wraps,” Lapierre said, “so that’s going to be huge, but I can also do smaller graphics too. If someone doesn’t want to spend $3,000 to wrap their entire car, I can do smaller images on a part of the car.”
“With the new vinyl wrap machine, I’ll be able to print the graphics in house,” he said, “we don’t have to send away for them, and the graphic is a better quality than a graphic ordered off of the internet for the same price, plus they’ll be getting a warranty with it.”
Though Lapierre has been working on vinyl graphics with the fire departments in Limestone and Ft. Fairfield and the police department in Limestone, some of the first graphics work he did in the area was for Caldwell Auto.
When Lapierre came to Limestone, word got out that his hobby was in the graphics area. For about three years, Lapierre has been creating quality items for businesses and organizations in the area, many of which keep coming back to him because of his craftsmanship and prices.
“Before I started working to open up the business, I was doing all the silk screening and lettering down in the basement of my home,” Lapierre said, “Though it is a hobby of mine, you can’t really expand clientele by saying ‘come down to my basement and look at some of the stuff I’ve done.’ Now that we’re a store front, we’re going to be able to advertise some and the business can expand.”
Caldwell Auto Parts and Towing is one of such businesses that Lapierre has been working with throughout the transition from hobby to business.
“When Joe was new to town, I heard he was doing lettering as a hobby and I asked him if he could do the lettering on a truck that we were working on,” said Scott Caldwell of Caldwell Auto Parts and Towing, “It progressed from there into continuing business and friendship.”
Lapierre has designed apparel for Caldwell Auto, as well as graphics, banners, even the Caldwell Auto Parts and Towing web page.
“I’ve built three web sites,” Lapierre said, “I don’t do it all the time, but it’s something that I’ll occasionally do on the side.”
“He’s going to be really competitive,” said Robbie Caldwell, also of Caldwell Auto Parts and Towing, “his prices are going to be cheaper than other businesses because he’s going to be a one man show to start out with, and he does real high quality work.”
“There are a few people in the area who do some similar work, but only a few,” said Scott Caldwell, “competition helps, and it’s nice to see a new business coming to Limestone.”
“Scott and Robbie have been a big help through everything,” Lapierre said, “Dwaine Walton at Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC) was also a huge help; I had problems getting financed through banks because of the current economic situation. The NMDC and Limestone Development Foundation (LDF) ended up financing my project,” Lapierre added.
Though Lapierre is grateful for all the help he’s received in building his business, Lapierre is no rookie to starting a business.
In Florida, Lapierre had started a similar business from scratch, called Dayton Signs, which is still experiencing success under a new owner
Lapierre, native to Van Buren, currently resides in Limestone with his wife Lianne and his 17-month-old son Evan.
Additional information about BLVD Graphix can be obtained at www.BlvdGraphix.com.