In 2007, when Craig Bullock – who also serves as Ward 6 Alderman for the City of Petal – began managing A1 Graphics at 233 North Main Street in Petal, he had no idea that’s what he would make a career out of. But in 2012, Bullock purchased and became owner of the business, which designs and screenprints T-shirts, and offers embroidery and heat-press on jerseys. Customers can find an array of Petal athletics shirts, as well as school uniforms, at the shop.
A1 Graphics can be reached by phone at (601) 545-7499, or online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bullock recently took the time for a phone Q&A to talk a little more about his shop and what it means to be a business owner in Petal.
Petal Chamber: Why set up shop in Petal?
Bullock: I never actually knew I’d eventually own it; I just managed it and ran it, and one thing led to another. We came here originally just because we felt like there was a need here for this type of business – there wasn’t anything here like that at the time. So we thought we could open a small retail area for the school district and the city, but also provide bulk orders to companies for the school district and things like that.
Q: Petal is widely known as The Friendly City. As a business owner, has that proven to be true to you so far?
A: Absolutely, yes. In almost 10 years of us owning the business, we’ve just been incredibly blessed, for sure. There’s a lot of support from both the business community, the retail side of things, and the school district. We also have invested a lot off money and time back into the community and the school district as well. They’re super, super supportive of our business.
Q: So it’s safe to say that you’ve seen a lot of growth, in terms of orders and other business?
A: We have. Like any business, it’s had its ups and downs over the years, but we continue to grow and prosper on a year-to-year basis.
Q: You’ve been a member of the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce for several years now. How has that benefited you as a business owner, and what advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who may be considering joining the chamber?
A: We do get a lot of support from the chamber. The Shop Petal First program has been very beneficial for us; that’s the key. I’m not really able to attend a whole lot of lunches and stuff, just because it’s so hard for me to break away during the weekdays. I know that those are very valuable as far as networking in the community and all that. We’re very pleased with the chamber’s support, and I know that we do have (executive director Valerie) Wilson and the chamber’s full support in our business.
Story by Haskell Burns. Photos by Cayla Camp Burns