Top Stories of 2023

Before we head into 2024, let's take a look back at the year's most popular stories

As we look forward to a new year, GRAPHICS PRO managing editor, Marie Fennema reflects on the growth and change that 2023 brought the industry. From shops adjusting to a post-COIVD world, battling inflation, and serving their communities, the year continued to be anything but typical.

Before we jump into 2024, we wanted to take a moment to look back at some of the year’s top stories.


Cahaba Media Group Acquires GRAPHICS PRO and GRAPHICS PRO EXPO

  • Cahaba Media Group (CMG) announced the acquisition of the assets of GRAPHICS PRO and GRAPHICS PRO EXPO from National Business Media Inc. (NBM).
  • In addition, this growth has served as a path for people to grow their careers at the company — in conjunction with the acquisition, CMG announced the promotion of Stacy Marshall to director of sales, Elizabeth Manning to director of content, Marie Fennema to managing editor, and Brandon Whittemore to vice president – finance.

GRAPHICS PRO EXPO Announces 2024 Event Schedule

  • GRAPHICS PRO EXPO (GPX) will featuring five locations across the U.S. in 2024: Irving, Texas, March 7-9; Long Beach, California, June 13-15; Greater Philadelphia (Oaks), Pennsylvania, July 10-12; Indianapolis, Indiana, Oct. 3-5; and Charlotte, North Carolina, Nov. 7-9.
  • GPX also includes Training in the Classroom, covering a variety of different topics designed to arm attendees with new skills and profit centers for their businesses. Each event launches with a full day of education, followed by three days of exhibits and classes.
  • GPX Long Beach features WRAPSCON, the single largest gathering of wraps and vinyl installation professionals with top installers and designers on hand to share their secrets and present live demonstrations throughout the event.


  • Continuing from last year, The GRAPHICS PRO Files returned in 2023. Host, former VP of Content Regan Dickinson, spoke with guests including Adam Sumner (Wrapix Imaging and Wrapix Academy), Sean Tomlin (Designer Wraps), Tim Evans (Pro Signs & Graphics and wrappermapper.com), Christy Rossi (Snatch & Run Screen Printing), Lauren Stern (Studio 618), and John Tarn (Xtreme! Marketing).

Top custom graphics news

Grimco and ROQ.US Enter Partnership

  • Grimco, a wholesale sign supply company, and ROQ.US, a manufacturer of automatic direct-to-garment and screen printing equipment, partnered to make ROQ machines widely available across the United States.
  • Through the partnership with ROQ.US, the U.S.-based arm of ROQ International, Grimco introduced a nationally centralized distribution of ROQ equipment.

Penn State Extends Partnership with HanesBrands

  • HanesBrands (HBI) and Penn State announced a multi-year extension of their current apparel partnership that gives HBI exclusive rights in the mass retail channel.
  • In addition to the mass retail channel, the partnership includes collaborative retail activations marking key rivalries and events.

Screen Printing Veteran Nicole Pape Launches Equipment Distribution Company

  • Screen printing veteran Nicole (Nikki) Pape launched an equipment distribution company for the garment decoration industry dubbed Embellishr.
  • The new business is a remote distributor of new and pre-owned screen printing equipment — which also offers full equipment sales services, including appraisal, marketing, and shipment.

Trotec Laser Names New North American President and CEO

  • Trotec Laser named Brett Northcutt as the new president and CEO of the organization’s North American region.
  • Northcutt emphasized that collaboration, communication, and calculated risk-taking will be vital to the organization’s future growth and success.

Avery Dennison Nets National Basketball Association

  • Avery Dennison announced an agreement with NBA Properties Inc. (NBAP) to license National Basketball Association (NBA) team marks, logos, fonts, and more in the production of on-court and retail apparel embellishments.
  • This initial license agreement affirmed Mentor, Ohio-based Avery Dennison’s intentions to expand its Embelex business in the United States.

Inktavo Names JP Hunt Head of Partnerships

  • JP Hunt, president, InkSoft and GraphicsFlow, was named head of partnerships for Inktavo, the umbrella company for InkSoft, GraphicsFlow, and Printavo, which were purchased in February 2022 by private equity firms PSG and Blue Star Innovation Partners (BSIP).
  • Hunt said his mission is to improve and expand on opportunities and solutions for shops to rise to the next level.

In the field

Atlantic Pinstriping & Vehicle Wraps Builds Reputation on Service, Quality

  • Atlantic Pinstriping & Vehicle Wraps served up a triple threat: custom-designed vehicle wraps, premium paint protection film, as well as hand-drawn pinstriping and lettering services for customers across the automotive, marine, and motorcycle market segments. Franchise owner Mike Montemurro said he hangs his hat on uncompromised quality, from employing highly-experienced staff and investing in modern equipment to only offering trusted name brands and materials.
  • Montemurro added that he takes pride in and stands by the shop’s work. In return, loyal, repeat customers are willing to join the 4-6 week waitlist to ensure a positive experience. Over the years, he said a quality reputation earned Atlantic Pinstriping & Vehicle Wraps “a good mix” of enthusiast, dealership, body shop, and commercial patronage across five franchise locations servicing Charlotte, North Carolina, and surrounding areas.

Sublimation Pro Celebrates 30 Years

  • Michael Kaminsky, longtime writer for GRAPHICS PRO, was 24 years old in June of 1993 when his older brother brought him into the sublimation industry.
  • Over the past 30 years, Kaminsky has seen the industry grow, change, and evolve in unexpected ways, and he has experience to share. “Your biggest investment is your equipment. Protect your investments and make sure you get good training,” he said.
  • As a whole, his favorite part of his career has been the people. He’s been lucky enough to become friends with clients and be invited to weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and other various occasions and affairs throughout the United States. “Keeping it personal in the personalization business is what I love about it the most,” Kaminsky says.

Wrappers Recognized with Vinyl Collection

  • APA America/EVOLV released ‘The Master Collection,’ a vinyl film collection inspired by three industry wrap installers.
  • As a result of collaborations with artists PG NOLA, DJ Illmatics, and Tate Designs, the collection includes three principal colors: Bacchus Bash, Carnage Red, and Booyah Purp.
  • “‘The Master Collection’ represents the perfect fusion of the installers’ expertise and our company’s passion for innovation,” said APA. “By involving these installers directly in the color creation process, we aimed to highlight their skills, creativity, and unwavering commitment to excellence.”

North Carolina Sign & Graphic Designer Releases Children’s Book

  • Lauren Stern, owner and principal consultant of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Studio 618, released a children’s book all about signage and wayfinding, titled “Signs Have Much to Say.”
  • Within the book, children learn why signage and wayfinding matter. The story follows Lauren and her furry friend, Dewey, as signs help them find their way around town. Their fun-filled adventure will take them to the zoo, hospital, school, and more.

Difference makers

Pacific Emblem Company Raises Funds for Maui Victims

  • Pacific Emblem Company, a California-based custom manufacturer of patches, emblems, and wristbands, stepped up in a big way to help raise money for the fire victims on Maui.
  • The company’s goal was to raise upwards of $50,000+ and donate to the Hawaii Community Foundation (referred to as the Maui Strong Fund). And 100% of the money raised (after the cost of goods, employees, and shipping) will be donated.
  • “My heart hurts for all those on Maui who lost their lives, homes, and businesses, and I had to do something to raise desperately needed funds for the residents,” said Rich Soergel (aka Dr. Patch), president of Pacific Emblem Company.

Charles River Apparel Helps Local Students in Need

  • Charles River Apparel donated $17,500 to local charities Cradles to Crayons (C2C) and Catie’s Closet to help local kids and teens in need start the school year strong.
  • In addition to the $10,000 donation to C2C and the $7,500 to Catie’s Closet, Charles River Apparel also hosted two volunteer events at its home office. In August, the company assembled over 1,100 school kits with C2C and hosted a clothing drive with Catie’s Closet.
  • Through the SOS Urgent Response Program, Catie’s Closet partnered with vetted social services agencies and other direct-service organizations to provide children transitioning between stable conditions with two weeks’ worth of clothing and hygiene products to meet their immediate needs. Charles River Apparel’s sponsorship of this program continued to help students stay strong and confident throughout the year.

Infinity Her Supports Fight Against Breast Cancer

  • Infinity Her, a brand specializing in blank headwear made exclusively for women, is stepping forward to show support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
  • During the month of October, Infinity Her customers helped when they ordered either the CASSIE Pigment-Dyed with Fashion Undervisor or the TESS Washed Mesh Back in the colors dusty pink or rose, Infinity Her donated 5% of the total profits from these orders to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Vantage Apparel Donates to Clean Ocean Action

  • Vantage Apparel, a provider of custom logo apparel and fulfillment, announced that it has donated its 1% For The Planet Pledge from sales of the company’s sustainable Earthwise collection to Clean Ocean Action, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting marine life and the ocean environment.
  • According to Vantage Apparel, its 1% For The Planet Pledge is a commitment to reducing its environmental impact through sustainable practices and initiatives. The donation to Clean Ocean Action is said to be one way that Vantage Apparel is working towards a brighter, cleaner future.

Throughout the year, the custom graphics industry showed up and supported each other. From the GRAPHICS PRO team, we’d like to thank you for sharing your stories, letting us have a look behind the scenes, and sharing in your triumphs. We look forward to serving you in 2024!

Avatar of Marie Fennema

Marie Fennema

Marie Fennema is the managing editor of GRAPHICS PRO, including GRAPHICS PRO Today, covering news and guidance in apparel decoration, awards and engraving, and sign and digital printing.

View all articles by Marie Fennema  

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