The custom apparel and promotional products company known as Rio Design, Ink. recently relocated to Isle on March 1 to expand operations. CEO Rich Oberfeld first opened Rio Design in Wahkon about a year ago.
“We were really doing well and needed to expand,” Oberfeld said. Then the building located at 255 W. Isle St. in Isle became available, so the company made the move.
Along with the new building, Rio purchased print equipment which allows for printing in-house as opposed to hiring outside companies to do the job. With an automatic screen print press, Rio can print 500 shirts per hour. Oberfeld was excited to say his company recently received its largest order of 9,000 shirts last week.
Overall, Oberfeld has been in the custom design business for about a decade. He previously worked as an independent salesman for Noble Wear, Ltd., selling custom apparel from screen printed designs. Eventually, Oberfeld developed a vision of his own and ventured off to open RIO, named after himself – Rich Ian Oberfeld.
“I value one shirt just as much as I value 10,000 shirts,” Oberfeld stated. “I am all for creating memories as opposed to strictly manufacturing.”
First, a customer will present a concept to Rio’s sales department, which will help them decide on a garment style and order size. An image is created by marketing and art director Vanessa Norwood. Once approved by the client, Norwood places the image on a film which is then put onto a screen by using UV light, Oberfeld explained. Ink is then placed on the screen and up to eight shirts can be printed at once using the print press. Each shirt is placed on a conveyer belt to be run through a dryer – and ta-dah!
Many orders are for family reunions, special causes, or sports events. “I like the humorous ones,” Oberfeld said, pointing to a shirt displaying a T-Rex bowling. “I like the ones that show a lot of personality.”
Rio Design, Ink. is open Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Find out more by visiting riodesignink.com, or by liking RioDesignInk on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
When Oberfeld is not busy operating his business or traveling to trade shows, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons. He is involved with the community through his role as chair of Isle School Board, and coaching basketball. In his free time, Oberfeld loves to hit the green for a good game of golf.