Monday, June 18, 2018
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Bluestem grows roots downtown

While Bluestem Graphics, a local screen printing and embroidery shop, is still settling into its space downtown after an April move, the name still reflects its former home.

Previously located on the north side of town, near a large field of the state’s official grass, little bluestem, the new location at 410 10th St. has increased the business’s visibility.

“It’s different for people to randomly stop in and see me, and I wasn’t used to that up there” said Haley Cowan who bought the business from her mother, Marian Kline, in 2012.

The increase in foot traffic has kept Cowan busy. She claims to juggle up to 20 different orders during a typical day. From shirts to hats, and even socks, the team at Bluestem will give most any garment a try.

“I love it when somebody comes in and asks me if I can do something weird like screen printing socks,” said Cowan. “I’m like ‘I don’t know, but we’ll figure it out.’ ”

Cowan’s family got involved with the trade in 2011 when her parents made a “random business purchase.” After her mother retired a year after the acquisition, Cowan and her young family returned to Gothenburg from Colorado Springs to take over.

Although her father, Kent, has never operated the business, he remains involved and has taught his daughter much of what he knows about the practice.

“My dad is a contractor too,” said Cowan. “It’s kind of along the same lines where it requires thinking, measurement and, you know, planning. He likes to do it.”

Her father’s isn’t the only help she receives from loved ones. Her husband, Andy, a policeman in Cozad, also helps when he can. Additional assistance comes from Jodi Bebensee, who helps Cowan with different tasks.

More help from within the family, ableit a ways down the road, may have just arrived.Cowan delivered her second child, a healthy baby boy, on Monday evening.

Working through pregnancy isn’t the only challenge Cowan has navigated in her business’s new dwelling. Heavy rains over the past few weeks resulted in a flooded display room. While Cowan is hopeful to get the front of her store remodeled quickly, she’s also thankful the back of the shop, where all the printing and embroidery is done, remains dry.

All of the projects are completed on site in the long, narrow building wedged between Farm Bureau Insurance and Bacon and Vinton Attorneys. The business boasts regular clients in Lincoln and Denver, and the owner hopes the clientele continues to grow.

“Yeah, hopefully,” Cowan answered when asked if she hoped for an expanding customer base. “We are already feeling a little squished in here, and we haven’t been here very long.”

If that’s the case and the business continues to develop, it may not be long until Bluestem Graphics needs to find a new home once again.

Bluestem is open from 10-5 Monday through Friday and can be reached at 308-537-5390.

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