Location, location, location. The old real estate joke about the three most important features of a piece of property is no joke to John McGraw.
McGraw owns Uniforms, Etc. of Fulton, a 15 year old company that provides work uniforms and accessories for police, fire and medical workers as well as embroidered and screen printed clothing for the public. After the 2003 Fulton Tool Company fire wiped out his first retail location, McGraw reopened in what had been Cam’s New York Pizzeria on the corner of S. 1st St. and Cayuga St. Business was okay but the store was too small, so McGraw moved to the other end of the block, into larger digs on the first floor of the former Goldberg’s Furniture building that’s becoming condominiums above.
The move was a small one — about 300 feet — but the impact of being visible on Route 481 was…well, let McGraw tell you himself: “Oh my God, it’s huge!”
Business jumped 25% after the move.
“Our numbers were good before the move, but now it’s non-stop,” said Joni Pia, the store’s marketing manager. “I hear a lot of times that ‘I didn’t even know you were here’.”
“We knew it would be good,” said McGraw. “But we didn’t know it would be as good as it was.”
The company employs 7 people at the Fulton store and an on-the-road sales rep who serves police and fire agencies in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties.
The retail store accounts for about a third of Uniforms, Etc’s business. The new retail floor is much larger than the old one. McGraw has added several more racks of nurses’ scrubs and several displays of accessories. There’s a sizeable work footware area. And there’s a display of products such as coffee mugs and mousepads and keychains, all carrying a photo or logo, which the company can print.
The heart of the operation is in the back, though, where, on the day we visited, Patrick Acquaviva was screen-printing bright colors onto t-shirts for Rudy’s of Oswego while Mary Jane McGraw, the owner’s mother, was overseeing the embroidering of logos onto t-shirts and caps. The back room was stacked high with clothing, ready to be printed, packed and shipped.
There’s plenty to do, and plenty more since the move. But the immediate boost in business has McGraw considering growing into other lines of business. “We keep finding niches to fill,” he said.