Couple moves screen printing business downtown

Published 9:32 am Friday, March 15, 2019

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the names of the owners of 269 Apparel. We regret the error and are happy to correct it.

DOWAGIAC — On Wednesday, March 6, Don and Erica Pye, owners of 269 Apparel, announced their screen printing and embroidery business would be moving into the former home of Movies Movies in downtown Dowagiac. In an effort to bring more business and traffic to their products, they decided to bring their products to their hometown.

Don and Erica both grew up in Dowagiac where they currently raise their three children.

As job situations and interests changed, the Pyes decided in 2017 to start venturing into new endeavors. For a time, it looked like the couple would be taking over D&R Sports, according to Don, but when the transfer did not work out as planned, they opened 269 Apparel in September 2017 and operated out of their home. Since starting their own business, 269 has enjoyed the support of the Dowagiac community, as well as surrounding communities.

“The community here has been tremendous,” Don said. “It grew so fast, faster than we thought it would. It was a no brainer to keep (business) here. Other communities have supported us as well.”

It was not long before the Pyes started looking for commercial spaces for 269 Apparel. According to Don, the couple worked closely with the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce to find a storefront in the downtown area. When Movies Movies closed and moved out of the building located at 113 W. Railroad St., Don and Erica knew they had an opportunity.

“We’ve been looking since last March,” Don said. “We’ve been working with the chamber to find a place downtown. The owners of Movies Movies retired last month, sold all their stuff and moved out in three weeks. It fell in our lap and we jumped on the opportunity.”

The Pyes do not yet have big plans for their new space. According to Don, the previous residents maintained the building well. He and Erica plan to do some painting and make other minor adjustments before moving in a few pieces of heavy machinery.

Don sees the potential of the space, however, though he is not yet sure what possibilities they will pursue. For the most part, the Pyes are pleased to open their business for more retail traffic and Dowagiac’s business and visitor friendly downtown corridor.

“It’s going to allow us to expand into some other things. It’s a retail space for people to stop in and buy. Right now we take orders, make and deliver. This will be a lot more space to do more things,” Don said.

Although the Pyes already knew about the supportive community of Dowagiac, becoming local business owners and soon to be downtown residents has only reinforced their affection for their hometown.

“I just love the small town atmosphere,” Don said. “Just about everybody knows everybody. It’s a tight-knit community.”

The Pyes hope to officially open the 269 Apparel store by mid-April. For more information, readers can visit the 269 Apparel Facebook page.