Made in Tallahassee
Showcasing local manufacturers operating globally
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In 2015, the Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/Leon County Inc. (EDC) launched a campaign aimed at showcasing high-tech manufacturing centers located in and around Leon County. The “Made in Tallahassee: Produced Regionally, Sold Globally” initiative features Tallahassee businesses that produce goods for sale in the Southeast and beyond.
“Our MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) is home to a rich and diverse network of visionaries, suppliers and component manufacturers and a tremendously productive workforce,” says Ben Pingree, the EDC’s executive vice president. “We are highlighting these visionary businesses to statewide, national and global audiences, as well as bringing awareness among our local community and drawing attention to those high-tech and high-wage industry sectors that are key to our community’s future success.”
A different local business is showcased each month, ranging from clothing producers to high-tech systems and software manufacturing. Businesses eligible to participate in the program must meet the following criteria:
- Be located, founded or headquartered within the Tallahassee MSA (which includes Leon, Gadsden, Jefferson and Wakulla counties), or have a local economic footprint;
- Have operated in the region for at least three years;
- Produce products or services with a regional, national or international impact.
The “Made in Tallahassee” initiative is meant to show that Tallahassee is home to not only the state capital and one of the state’s largest public research universities but also to a booming industry of manufacturers and suppliers. From electronics and computer systems to clothing and fashion, Tallahassee businesses span the industrial gamut.
Here are some of the high-tech manufacturing centers located in the region.
Full Press Apparel
“If it has mass, we can brand it” is the mantra of one of the more creative manufacturers spotlighted by the “Made in Tallahassee” initiative. Full Press Apparel, Tallahassee’s premier “visual brander” since 1997, manufactures screen-printed T-shirts, embroidery and promotional items for individuals, Florida State University, Greek organizations, student groups, businesses and more.
Until recently, Full Press — owned by Tracey and Dan Shrine — had been selling, designing and manufacturing branded items at its Gaines Street location. Now, there are two offices. The original Gaines Street location serves as the sales headquarters, and the new Garber Drive facility on the city’s northwest side is the corporate headquarters as well as the manufacturing and production center.
“We have the best of both worlds,” says Tracey Shrine. “Our (Garber Drive) production facility allows large truck deliveries and pick ups for nationwide shipping. There really aren’t any limitations any more. We’re able to keep a campus presence down in the college hub and work with local businesses from our Gaines Street location, and we also have an expanded production facility. We’ve grown leaps and bounds since then.”
Between the two locations, Full Press now has more than 40 full-time employees working in design, sales, production and marketing. It’s also dedicated to its community.
“One of the big things we do as a business is philanthropy,” says Tracey Shrine. “We give 10 percent of our net sales back to nonprofit associations. An event we do every year is Dance Marathon at FSU. For every sorority and fraternity that gets their shirts printed with us, Full Press gives a percentage to the Children’s Miracle Network. We have children ourselves, so it’s important for us to celebrate children’s networks.”
While Full Press is focused on the local community, that doesn’t mean the Shrines don’t do business all over the United States. Their company designs and manufactures branded products for sale to colleges, businesses, state agencies and nonprofits across the nation. Full Press is a licensed Greek vendor, meaning it is authorized to print for more than 47 different Greek organizations, allowing it to do business with fraternities and sororities at universities across the country.
Full Press Apparel was selected as a “Florida Company to Watch” by GrowFL, an organization focused on growing and promoting second-stage businesses (those that have grown past the start-up stage).