Ink Factory settles into new home
In September, Ink Factory owners Jeff and Sarah Barrette completed their long anticipated move after months of planning and making costly renovations to the historic building.
“I love the building. The first time I walked into this [building] I knew this is where we wanted to be, once we figured it out,” said Jeff Barrette, general manager.
Having outgrown their former 1,800-square-foot site at 30 Pleasant St., the Barrettes worked on a feasibility study to make sure their business would thrive in the new location.
The couple spent over $400,000 making repairs and improvements to the two-story brick and wood structure, built in 1840 as a women’s employee dormitory and company storehouse.
The building had remained vacant for the last decade following the departure of the former Reliable Paper Supply Co.
Barrette said the restoration project replaced 60 percent of the building’s carrying beams. Other structural work included adding new interior walls and four ADA-compliant bathrooms.
The roof was rebuilt over part of the 12,500-square-foot building, and a 750-square-foot renovated section will be sublet as retail or office space. The second floor of the building will be used for 24-hour keypad access to self-storage for up to 30 heated storage units.
The original hardwood floors have been cleaned and revarnished, Barrette said.
The project was the first to make use of the city’s new 79-E tax relief program for those willing to invest $75,000 or more in renovations to a building in the downtown historic district. The property has been locked into a six-year value assessment of $114,000, Barrette said.
He said the building has been restored to historic levels according to National Park System Historic Preservation guidelines.
Now in its ninth year, the Ink Factory makes T-shirts, decorative apparel, custom embroidery and promotional products, and is the official store for Stevens High School. The company has five employees and plans to hire additional staff.
Barrette said the new site houses a semi-automatic screen printing machine which can produce up to a dozen T-shirts on the carousel using eight different colors. There is also plenty of space inside the new facility for a 6-color manual press and an embroidery machine.
Nancy Merrill, director of city planning and development, said the Ink Factory’s new and improved location represents positive internal growth for Claremont’s industry.
“It is exciting when somebody new comes in, but existing companies that grow have a huge impact on jobs and on the tax base,” Merrill said. “[The Barrettes] have put a lot of work into that project and a lot of thought into it.”