Northside print shop offers style and affordability
K.B. Brown’s Wolfpack Promotionals LLC, located on West Broadway in North Minneapolis, has persevered through hard times to find success.
The WP enterprise was officially established in 2014. Brown said, “We started in Northeast, moved to NEON, and moved the business to our current location,” in 2018. The community has embraced the business. “I got a lot of love,” Brown said.
He added, “It’s [Wolfpack Promotionals] right across the street from the Capri Theatre. I figured once I got a sign up—I would be noticeable.” Brown is currently focused on assisting customers with strategic marketing and promotional printing.
When customers shop at the WP neighborhood business, they’ll have a wide variety of promotional items to choose from. The company has access to over 100,000 items.
WP can print upon virtually anything, from aprons, awards, backpacks, banners, ceramic mugs, cups, jump ropes, and notebooks to t-shirts, embroidered patches, keychains, and more.
The company also launched its very own clothing line, known as Alpha Wear Apparel. “I was explaining to someone the other day because they wanted this Louis Vuitton type stuff and I said I don’t wear that—all I wear is Alpha Wear,” Brown said. AWA t-shirts and hoodies incorporate a mask into the designs.
Brown gained inspiration to start the WP business due to the lack of affordable prices. He explained, “I realized that when we go to get marketing materials it felt like we were being charged a whole lot extra for really cheap products and it bothered me.” As a result, the WP entity is geared toward serving the community and giving back to entrepreneurs.
He elaborated, “Promotional printing was a part of the business that most people don’t go into. And then when I got to doing the research, I realized that printing is a $120 billion dollar a year industry; garments [t-shirt printing] make up 10% of that industry. Minorities make up 90% of that 10%.”
When Brown learned about the statistics, he felt compelled to change the course of his business, which centers around promotional products.
According to Brown, “Everyone wants to be the best t-shirt printer, and at first, I had the same mindset until I realized that essentially, you’ve got to print on 300-400 shirts a month to simply pay your bills—it’s not sustainable.” So, he chose to shift his business and began offering promotional products to customers.
Brown has overcome barriers in the promotional printing industry. He further explained, “When I went to my first trade fair for promotional products, I was the only Black owner in the building.” He added, “It was eye-opening at the very least.”
The WP business is built upon a strong moral. Brown explained, “All money ain’t good money—when Prince died everybody printed up Prince stuff and sold it—we won’t do it.” He emphasized, “If it’s not morally right, we will not do it. When George Floyd died, we wouldn’t print GF stuff; I’m not doing it.”
Customers are encouraged to utilize the business for marketing services and their promotional products. The WP team is well-versed in consumer centricity, focusing on the needs of the consumer. “We’re here to help, you can expect honest answers,” Brown assured.
Brown operates with transparency. He informs customers of ways they can save money and about the most cost-efficient options available. The prices are affordable, and consumers can have an array of promotional products to choose from. “I make sure my prices are fair to you and me,” Brown said.
Like many other local businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest caused disruption in business. They were forced to shut down temporarily. But Brown persevered despite adversity.
Although a business can be taxing, there are rewarding aspects, such as, “Watching the businesses that we work with grow.” He added, “I can help my businesses promote themselves. We love dealing with newer businesses.” WP is focused on helping entrepreneurs bring their ideas to fruition.
Brown also spoke about the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses. He voiced concerns about the future of business owners, located in North Minneapolis: “It’s the last community we are predominantly in—they’re talking about putting a Blue Line down Broadway.” Brown has helped raise awareness.
He added, “I’ve been talking to a lot of businesses on Broadway about it and making sure they know because I want to know how we’re going to sustain our businesses for the next three years.”
Brown shared advice for aspiring business owners and young people. “Get you a mentor—I talk to my mentor every day; I don’t make a business decision without talking to my mentor first.”
He added, “If you can’t find one—come see me.” In the future, “I would love to start an entrepreneurial training program,” Brown said.
Wolf Pack Promotionals is located at 2038 West Broadway Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55411.
For more info, visit the website: www.wolfpackpromotionals.com/promotional-printing, Facebook/@wolfpackpromotionals or call 612-888-5174.
Ashley Lauren is a contributing writer at the MN Spokesman-Recorder.