CLINTON — Elite Graphics hopes to be moved into its new location in Clinton by the spring.
Elite Graphics was established by owner Mike Wills in 2014. The business began at Wills’ house as a hobby. Wills worked a full-time job and operated the business on the side, he said. About three years ago, Wills made the decision to quit his full-time job and operate the business on a full-time basis. He has operated the business out of Fulton, Illinois, for the last three years, but plans on moving from the Fulton location to 315 Fifth Ave. South in Clinton.
“It really boiled down to Fulton’s been good to us. I like being in Fulton,” Wills said. “I’ve got to expand my business and I’m really out of room. And probably 95% of my business comes from the Clinton area and the surrounding area. But I was born and raised in Clinton. I graduated in 1990 from Clinton High School. I see what the downtown’s doing. I see things coming back. We had an opportunity to buy that building and we need more room. I really want to be a part of that.”
They purchased the building in April from Dave Rose, Wills said.
“The building just needs a lot of work,” Wills said. “So we’re in the process of gutting the building completely to where it’s all going to be new when we’re done. The structure of the building’s in good shape. The roof’s had some work done on it but as far as when customers walk in the front door, someday after we refurbish this, it’s all going to be redone.”
The business started as a hobby for Wills and really took off, he said. The business is still expanding, with Wills picking up two to three new customers per week, he said.
The business’ focus is currently on screen printing, Wills said. They are starting to get more into the embroidery aspect as well.
“What I want to see down the road when we get to Clinton, I want to be able to maybe someday set my shop up to where if somebody wanted to come in there and maybe I can work out a deal with the schools maybe have school apparel in there...I want people to be able to pull in there and walk into our building, be comfortable. Knowing that they’re going to get a good price. We’re going to deliver on time and get them the best quality we can give them.”
Wills noted they serve a lot of local businesses. They also do work for charity events and cancer benefit shirts. He always gives them a good price because they are trying to raise money for their benefit, he said.