Local businesses are the heart of Lebanon, from the creators, visionaries, doers and leaders to the producers, growers, feeders, and cheerleaders, we love them as much as they love on us.
Screen printing, embroidery and promotional printing business, SouthEast Impressions (SEI), is no exception to the diverse resources Wilson County is lucky to have. But this local love story goes just a little deeper. We caught up with Ben and Maggie Spurlock who are continuing a second generation legacy of serving and giving started nearly 30 years ago. At SEI, every day is a love story, as we were reminded that finding your soul mate sometimes happens in the most unexpected guise, like their story that started with a career choice.
What drew you into graphic design/promotional material printing?
Ben: My Mom and Dad started the company in the mid 90s. So I spent my whole childhood growing up around it and helping around with whatever I could. When I was 16 I started helping more often and would spend my summers working in the shop, continuing this through college. Once I graduated from college I decided to come join full time and the rest is history! I love the industry because things are constantly changing and evolving which keeps you engaged or you will fall behind. Continuing to grow and find great employees to be a part of that is a big thing for me. I enjoy the part of seeing the employees succeed and be successful in life.
Maggie: I graduated from UTC and got a job in screen printing sales right after college at SouthEast. I had a background in marketing, design + communications. Ben's Dad hired me in 2016. I started working out front at SEI at the desk for five years, and now do a little bit of everything from helping in departments of billing, artwork, and customer service. For me it's not about the shirts, it's more about the relationships + meanings. A lot of shirts have a bigger meaning behind them, something more important. Then there are the people that stop in daily who usually have some pretty touching; I have met a lot of eye opening, genuinely sweet humans through SEI over the past eight years, whether it be customers or employees, one being Ben!
It's funny because we did meet through SouthEast, but the way this place was set up and our jobs at the time, we worked here for years without ever even having a conversation, other than when jobs would be completed. We started hanging out through mutual friends outside of work and really hit it off. People say they don't know how they would be able to work with their significant other, but we wouldn't have it any other way.
How did you pick Lebanon for your printing business?
Lebanon is home for both of us. We were born and raised here and the company was started here as well. As we continue to grow, Lebanon will always be home. It's also a great center point for our employees as they come from cities all around Lebanon to work.
Tell us 3 things people might not know about SEI
- The company has grown from two people in the beginning, to a company with presently 50 employees and running two shifts.
- The target in the SEI logo is actually a registration mark that is used to line up multiple colors for different designs. Fun fact inside a fun fact: with technology changing, registration marks aren't needed much anymore if at all!
- As we do a lot locally for businesses and schools, we actually ship all over the country from coast to coast and even have some international orders every year.
SEI supports our community with a lot of donations and discounts, what are some charities that are close to your heart?
We love giving back to the community, anytime someone comes in from a school or charity asking for help, we are here for them. I believe in helping people in need, not only with groups in our community, but we also work closely with We Do Recover to help people in recovery with a stable job. This helps people who are in rehabilitation to get their feet wet and get back to working. Picking favorite charities is always tough, but just to mention a few, we love working with Sherry's Hope and Empower Me. Sherry was our neighbor growing up and that organization will always have a special place in our hearts. My family, especially my two brothers, have always actively volunteered with Empower Me, and we love seeing what they are doing in the community.
Anything else you would like us to tell readers?
SEI is a local business, but has grabbed national attention in our industry. We will continue to go to shows and keep the most up to date technology in our business to help our customers have the best experiences and products. Along with helping others in the community, we also love to help out other shops in our industry. We are firm believers in helping out others, instead of looking at them as competition. We work closely with a lot of shops around the country with technical issues or if they need help getting jobs done. And we would like to say thank you to anyone who has ever supported us. We appreciate all of you!
Working together as married business partners, Ben and Maggie wouldn't have it any other way.