Photos Andy Calvert
For Jason Lansdell, the process of purchasing and renovating a new facility for High Voltage Prints was all about timing and making the most of a difficult situation. The screen printing company has been in Rome for 11 years and moved into its new home at 174 Chatillon Road in June.
“I knew that one day, I needed to own my own building,” Lansdell says. He bought the 85-year-old former general store building from the previous owner in December of 2019, but this business transaction had been years in the making. “I knew the guy who owned it, and I used to print shirts for them every year,” Lansdell explains. “Every year when he’d come get shirts I’d say ‘hey, want to sell that building?’, and every year he’d say no.”
Last year, however, the former owner told Lansdell that he’d decided to sell the building and wanted to offer it to him first. Since the lease on the former High Voltage facility was up, Lansdell made an offer and started planning.
Starting from Scratch
The renovation of the building into the High Voltage facility was the biggest that the structure has seen in its history. According to Lansdell, the four brick walls are the only original feature remaining. “It was the biggest thing I’ve ever done,” he says. “It was like building from nothing.”
With these four walls and an otherwise blank slate, Lansdell was able to design a customized, streamlined facility for his business. “I designed every bit of it myself so that it would be exactly the flow of what we do every day,” he says. “We built all the different departments to flow in a circle. When goods are dropped off, everything moves in a circle and then back out the door.”
According to Lansdell, the location of the new facility has also helped his business by bringing in new customers. “Now, we’re out in the open, and a lot of people drive by,” he says. “We can see things picking up just from the visibility.”
A Blessing in Disguise
A construction crew began work on the renovation on March 1 as concern about COVID-19 built in the U.S. This initially brought a lot of nerves for Lansdell, who worried that the nationwide shutdowns would slow or halt the renovation project. Though he and the crew had to proceed with caution, he says that the decrease in business due to the pandemic was, in some ways, a blessing in disguise.
“It was a blessing, a little bit, because we went from being really busy to hardly having any work at all,” Lansdell says. “I was here every single day, watching them at every step of the process.” Because the crew was able to work throughout the pandemic, they finished the renovation in four months, and Lansdell has seen business start to pick up again since the facility opened in mid-June.
Looking back on the challenges of the past months, Lansdell is thankful for his community. “I try to do anything I can in my community to help, and everybody knows that,” he says. “When times were hard for me, it was amazing how many people came out and said ‘you’ve always done right by us, so we’re going to try to give you some business.’ When you do the right thing, it comes back.”
You can also visit them at: highvoltageprints.com