Bottom Line Up Front: AP Design’s ‘Reopening Minnesota’ initiative proved that screen printers already have the capabilities & technology needed to help community businesses reopen safely — so today’s tip is how we can learn from them to help our own communities. We break it down below.

As the country starts loosening ‘stay at home’ regulations and businesses start preparing to open their doors, many are left wondering what the new normal will look like.

Restaurants operating at half-capacity?

Retail shops with curb-side pickup?

Store clerks with face masks and plastic partitions?

As we hurry to find creative solutions that minimize the threat to public health, many in the apparel decorating industry have started brainstorming — and producing — their own fixes. And folks, we here at InkSoft love to see it.

Today’s Tip of the Day is based on the innovative and quick-thinking actions of one screen printer. A screen printer that took its capabilities and used them to help the rest of the community prepare to re-open efficiently, confidently, and safely.

So, if you’re anything like us, prepare to be inspired — and get ready to start thinking about how you can put your own capabilities to work as we enter this new, unprecedented phase.

Where it all started

AP Design is a full-service screen printing, merchandise, and signage company based in Marshall, Minnesota. While they’ve been busy managing a number of campaigns through the pandemic (which you can read about here), they were also among the first to put a creative — and highly relevant — spin on their signage capabilities.

That’s how their Reopening Minnesota online store was born. 

By offering everything from floor decals to window vinyls, from lawn signs to counter barriers, the team at AP Design set out to make sure that every community business — big or small — has the tools they need to re-open safely.

Let’s look at the floor decals, for starters: the ready-made decals come with messaging like “Stay Safe! 6 Feet Apart!” and “One Way,” with an arrow pointing in the permitted direction. Not only can these decals be used in larger stores with multiple aisles, but they can also be used to organize (and space out) lines in smaller ones. 

The Reopening Minnesota store is also offering custom floor decals, in either footprint or round shapes, which allow businesses to form their own messaging — and even include their own branding. 

For all their simplicity, floor decals do much more than just instruct people inside a confined space where to walk, or how far back to stand. They also work to instill a sense of confidence, for everyone inside the store, that precautions are being taken.

That, at a time when so much about our health and our economy is uncertain, we’re part of a community that prioritizes cooperating with each other to make every workplace and every storefront as safe as possible

The other goods on offer

In addition to the small but mighty floor decals, AP Design is also offering window vinyl and lawn signs, as well as counter barriers and face shields — all available in the Reopening Minnesota online store.

Since different businesses are taking different approaches to reopening, the window vinyls and lawn signs serve to help take the guesswork out of whether or not a store’s open for customers. 

These signs are simple, reading “Come In, We’re Open!” and “We Are Back!” — but simple’s really all that’s needed to get the point across. The aim with these signs is to ease the reopening process for community businesses, giving them the tools they need to ensure that, once they do open, as many people as possible know about it.

And then there are the counter barriers and face shields on offer. AP Design knows that it’s not just about protecting customers, but about protecting employees too — and that’s why they worked to develop products that would maximize the protection of employees behind the counter.

These barriers are customizable, so businesses are able to include their name and logo on the customer-facing side — but branding isn’t the main intention here. 

Safety is. 

These barriers enact a physical separation between customer and employee, ensuring droplets and germs don’t pass through. For employees who are tasked with speaking with new people throughout the course of the day, these barriers work to provide additional protection — and peace of mind. 

Face shields also offer employees that extra layer of protection, whether they’re stationary behind a counter or not. For $5 per shield, employees can don their own personalized barrier — and feel more comfortable going about their job, knowing that they have a strong protective measure in place.

A new normal

If there’s one thing AP Design’s Reopening Minnesota initiative has shown us, it’s that we shouldn’t fear change. We shouldn’t be stressed out or panicking about what our new normal will look like — because we have the power to adapt. 

We have the power to use creative thinking — and our own capabilities — to solve whatever problems come our way.

That’s why this initiative — the Reopening Minnesota online store — is the basis for our newest Tip of the Day. It reminds us that we’re already capable of rising to the challenge, that we already have all of the tools we need to find innovative solutions, and that when we look out for each other, incredible things can happen.

The AP Design team took their signage capabilities and, using InkSoft technology, created an online store — but that store didn’t just offer creative solutions to its community. It didn’t just offer peace of mind, either.

It offered the invaluable insight that we can adapt to anything. It’s also what drove them in their pursuit for a successful ‘Here For Good’ store.

That’s what we hope you take from this Tip of the Day — that you look at your capabilities, and you look at the problems your community’s facing, and you realize that you have the power to find creative solutions. 

Maybe you start selling your own lawn signs and floor decals.

Maybe you start printing t-shirts for store clerks that read, “Six Feet Back, Please.”

Or maybe you come up with a new idea — something so innovative and so impactful that it becomes its own Tip of the Day.

Whatever you choose to do, know that you have the full support of InkSoft behind you. Our technology is here to make sure your capabilities and your solutions can be seen, purchased, and promoted by as many people as possible.

So get thinking, and get working. We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

We’re rooting for you,

The InkSoft Team