A changing of hands at Blue Earth Custom Embroidery
Blue Earth Custom Embroidery began operating on Blue Earth’s main street four years ago in 2015. Owner Brenda Mensing and her daughter, Emily Hanson, were the two individuals who brought the business to life.
Now, as of July 29, the business, which occupies the space formerly filled by Photos By GT, has a new owner.
Amy Beebe, owner of Garage Ink, located in Mapleton, purchased the business from Mensing.
“I had been looking to expand my business,” Beebe comments, “I had checked out some places in Mapleton when I learned Brenda was interested in selling.”
When Beebe graduated from United South Central (USC) in 1995, as part of the first class to complete grades 9-12 at the newly consolidated school, she had no idea she would end up in the screen printing and embroidery business.
“I graduated from high school and went to what was then called South Central Technical College (SCTC),” Beebe explains. “I got my associate degree in applied science degree in legal administration, then I attended Minnesota State-Mankato so I could be a paralegal.”
And from 1998 to 2013 she worked in a law office in Mankato.
But along the way she saw something which gave her an idea and changed the course she was taking.
“I was at one of my son’s youth baseball tournaments and saw someone selling shirts, and I said to myself, ‘I could do that,'” Beebe says.
So she purchased her first piece of equipment and got to work.
“I bought a small screen printing machine called the Yu-du personal screen printer,” she shares.
So she set up her first shop in her kitchen. It was the spring of 2011 and she was ready to go.
“My first job I made 120 shirts,” Beebe comments. “I had to bake them in my oven to set the ink, it took me 12-14 hours to get it all done but I sold all of the shirts at a youth baseball tournament.”
She soon realized two things. She liked what she was doing and she needed more space. So in the fall of 2011 she moved her business to her garage and upgraded her equipment.
“The kids helped come up with the name of the business, since I had moved out to the garage, why not call it Garage Ink,” Beebe states.
Word spread fast about her business and soon the orders were coming in.
“My customers have included the Maple River, USC, St. Clair and Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial schools,” she says. “I also have a number of business customers in Mankato.”
Screen printing was her main focus until the fall of 2018 when she purchased an embroidery machine. The purchase of the business in Blue Earth will allow her to increase the amount of orders she can handle.
For Hanson, it was not easy to turn the business over.
“It is bittersweet,” Hanson shares, “We put a lot of love, hours and energy into this place.”
Hanson will be starting a different job and is very comfortable Beebe is the new owner.
“She is extremely innovative and has a strong desire to make sure the business stays here,” Hanson states. “Her attention to detail and customer satisfaction will serve her well. People should be excited to have her in town.”
Beebe spends long hours doing what she loves but she also finds time to do be active in the community.
“My family did foster care for Blue Earth County for 20 years,” she comments. “I am also on the social service task force for Blue Earth County.”
The family she refers to includes her husband Jon, a native of Fairmont, and two children. Zackary is 24, lives in Wells, is married to Alissa and they have two children. Hailey is 19 and just started college at South Central College in Mankato.
Another facet of her business involves working with high school students.
“We are currently taking orders for shirts designed by the Business Professionals of America Club (BPA) from Blue Earth Area,” Beebe explains. “Once the shirts arrive the students will help fold, package and deliver them.”
She is not a stranger to the BPA.
“I was a member of the BPA when I was in college, it was a really good experience,” Beebe shares. “In fact, I had my first airplane ride when I qualified for the National Contest and had to fly to San Antonio.”
Another thing Beebe likes about her business is the challenges it provides.
“I enjoy coming up with the design and the item the customers want,” she says.
Her schedule is not yet set in stone but she believes she will be spending more time in Blue Earth than in Mapleton.
“I am excited to be in Blue Earth and look forward to getting to know the people even better,” she concludes.