Chamber Chat – Black History Month: Flooded Screen Prints

February 06, 2022 | Written by: sanford-user

By Meg Moss, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

In an effort to support diversity, equity and inclusion in our community, I am taking this opportunity to celebrate Black History Month with you as we learn the story of one of our local black owned businesses.

Flooded Screen Prints is owned by DZ and Keona Carr. Six years ago, they started their business in a guest bedroom in their home. Screenprinting t-shirts for friends and family was their initial goal. They soon realized they were onto something, as the shirt orders continued to flood in. They soon had to move the operation to their garage, and not long after that, they moved to a 500 square foot facility in Tramway.

In looking back on their sixth year anniversary this past June, the Carrs shared some of the history of how their businesses came to be. “Six years ago, we purchased our first press for $700 on Craigslist.” DZ had just left his full-time job to start a part time job and give some focus on this new venture. Keona was researching how to figure this thing out. “Many nights of failures and trial and errors we learned how to print with this press. Holding on to our faith and leaning on each other we kept going knowing that God had something great ahead of us.”

Approximately three years into running Flooded Screen Prints, the Carrs applied to participate in the Real Investment in Sanford Entrepreneurs (RISE) program and were selected for the inaugural class. Alongside eleven other individuals who were either hoping to open or expand their small business in Lee County, they received guidance from the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Sanford, Incorporated and the Central Carolina Community College Small Business Center, along with a host of guest speakers during the course of the entrepreneurship program.

“We really enjoyed the RISE program, and the sessions on accounting and taxes were the most beneficial to us.”

During the business planning process, the Carrs realized that their three-step process works – “quote, approval, production.”

It wasn’t long after the RISE program concluded that DZ and Keona moved their operations to a 3,000 square foot facility in Tramway. This allowed them the opportunity to purchase larger and more advanced presses and to add additional services such as creating signs and banners. Flooded Screen Prints now offers embroidery services as well as sublimation, direct-to-garment printing, and graphic design services. You can find them on social media, but if you would like to visit their retail location, they can be found at 2616 L&S Drive in Tramway.

Keona told me that Flooded Screen Prints is “more that a company. We are a community. What that means for us is that we incorporate the community in everything we do.” The Carrs put their words into action. For their sixth anniversary of being in business, they held a fundraiser for the MINA Charter School, hosting food trucks and having games for the kids.

Black History Month, originally established as a week-long celebration in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Black History Month was first recognized by President Gerald Ford in 1976. President Ford challenged the American people to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”