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Local graphics business grows with Tea: Ahrendt Designs transitioning to AD Graphics Co.

There’s no doubt you see new businesses popping up in Tea these days. The flourishing town attracts professionals like graphics designer Eric Ahrendt.

Ahrendt saw the advantages of the Tea area for his graphics business. The Southeast Technical Institute graduate moved Ahrendt Designs from Harrisburg approximately four years ago.

“I wanted to be by the interstate. I didn’t want to be in Sioux Falls. I looked where businesses were growing, where more and more shops were going and where traffic was going.”

Ahrendt Design’s next big move will be a name transition. The business will become AD Graphics Co. Team members will continue tackling design and installation projects in their current 3,000 square foot facility.

“We do vehicle wraps, commercial wraps for trucks, cars, semis, vans, the whole works there. We do a lot of T-shirts, hat embroidery, signs, laser engraving, a little bit of logo design. We’ll brand a company.”

Ahrendt also offers a newer trend in his shop, color change vehicle wrap. Colored vinyl saves customers from getting new vehicle paint jobs. Business advertising projects of all sizes also remain a key part of their services.

“I’ve had some fairly large projects. We did a 53-foot Featherlite trailer for Sanford. I like the big ones like that, because you’re working on a huge canvas and when you’re done, you’re like ‘Holy cow’.”

Employees use several machines to handle these projects. The upstairs portion of the business houses screen printing materials and the embroidery machine. Lower level rooms provide space for vehicles, an office and larger equipment.

“I have two large-format rolling printers. They’re 54-inch printers. You’ve got to have a laminator and obviously I have to have my software to do the designing. It all kind of ties in.”

The large variety of projects AD Graphics Co. takes on means its team must master an equal amount of techniques.

“Each project brings it’s own challenge. There’s risks for sure. I would say that there’s just a lot to learn to get it right. The setup process is probably the most important and tedious work.”

Ahrendt says operating the equipment proves more complex than simply pressing a button. Team members must commit time and effort to learning the best techniques.

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