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Valley Apparel & Signs - Specializing in Screen Printing for Customers Near and Far.

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Owner: Dwight & Carla Martin
Address: 36 West Main Street
In business since: 1995
Phone: 502-477-5444
Website: www.companycasuals.com/valleyapparelandsigns

There was a time when crowds would line the sidewalks in front of 36 W. Main Street in Taylorsville waiting for the doors to open. That’s when the building was home to a state-of-the art movie house known as Valley Theatre.

There’s not nearly as much foot traffic on the streets of Taylorsville these days, but there’s plenty of activity going on inside. Ironically, that activity still revolves around the screen. Specifically, the old theatre is now home to Valley Apparel which specializes in screen printing for customers near and far.

“Not many people even know we’re here,” said Carla Martin, who along with husband Dwight, have been operating the screen printing business since 1995.

However, word-of-mouth advertising can be quite effective, and over the years, their quality workmanship has produced a steady stream of loyal customers.

She said they recently just shipped out 300 shirts to Oklahoma. Earlier this year, they completed jobs for customers in Indianapolis and Chicago.

Valley Apparel produces the official t-shirts for the Kentucky State Fair and the National Farm Machinery Show held in Louisville each year. Locally they do work for some of the clubs and groups at the high school and would like to do more.

Carla said some people think setting up a t-shirt shop in their basement can be a breeze, but explained that there’s a technical aspect to providing quality that isn’t learned overnight.

“A lot of materials take special ink and special curing that we’ve learned over the years,” she said. Today’s new fabrics require a special touch when customizing with logos, designs, numbers or letters.

Valley Apparel also excels in embroidery work, printing on bags, party tents and other promotional items. In addition, they also make signs.

The shirt business happened by accident, said Dwight. He worked concert concessions, and had a contract for the Rolling Stones. At the time, he was on a nine-month tour with the band and he frequently had people asking him about designing shirts for them. He told them he only sold the shirts, but it planted an idea in his mind. When he returned from the tour, he contacted a small screen printer in Louisville who was looking to expand, and he got involved.

When it came time to locate his business, he knew he wanted to stay in Taylorsville. The movie theatre, which opened in 1949, had closed in the 60s, only to reopen for a short run a decade later before closing for good.

He purchased the building from Tom Snider.

“When we bought it, all it was was an empty shell,” he said.

The floor was slanted as most theatres were, and he hauled in 190 tons of rock to level the floor. The ticket booth remains out where the lobby was, and you can still see the area where the balcony was.

Martin said he remembers going to the movies in the theatre, and said his parents actually went on dates in the building when 40 cents could get two people into the movies, as well as buy them a hot dog and a drink.

In addition to the screen printing business, the building also serves as a storage area for Martin’s other business ventures, which include, Martin Heating and Air and Plum Creek Rentals.