WRITTEN BY SHAWNA O’NEILL
“That’s my shirt!” Mike Petrynk whispers to his wife — with a stoic sense of pride — when he spots a local sporting one of his originals.
Mike of Mike’s Printing will soon open his downtown storefront after claiming victory at the 2020 Win This Space competition.
“I’m very excited, and really happy I won. It has been quite a whirlwind since then,” he said.
Having showcased weekly at the Kinsmen Farmers Market, and frequently at various other local events before COVID-19, Mike is happy to finally have his own space to further connect with the public.
Like many other business owners, he is currently working hard to stay connected online and increase his social media presence. Many of his goods can be found on his website mikesprinting.ca.
With an aesthetic of gunmetal grey and exposed brick in mind for his shop, Mike can already envision it, especially with the locally inspired items he will display in his front window.
He is thrilled to have recently launched a campaign in partnership with Jane McLaren and Tracy Davies called Cornwall Gallery In Motion. The initiative, which aims to financially support local artists during COVID-19, includes five designs by selected local artists that will be printed onto shirts. Members of the public can wear this art gallery while social distancing, and possibly get their hands on the original drawings at Mike’s storefront once he opens — if they’re lucky.
“Honestly, the work for the arts campaign tops it all,” said Mike when asked about his favourite creation over the last six years. “Some will be hard to print, but there’s just something to these pieces. I have to say this is my favourite, what they are doing today. The feedback from the arts community…I’m just really blown away.”
The best part of the business for Mike is seeing the look on his customers’ face when they hold the final product. Knowing that he made a customer happy, and that he gave them a memory to keep and wear, is what inspires him.
“I saw a meme on a screen printing group saying ‘that face you make when you see someone wearing your shirt in public’ and I know that feeling,” said Mike with a chuckle.
Mike works as a software developer and never imagined he would open an art-related business one day. Six years ago he was toying with the idea of trying screen printing as a hobby. His parents got him a kit for Christmas and the rest is history.
“I rekindled a passion,” he said. “I did some art in high school and grade school…I think it’s something I have always liked, arts in some form. I did doodles mostly, and really enjoyed art class. I remember I sketched some birds one time, I wish I still had it. (Arts) didn’t leave an impression on me back then…I kind of wish it did. You get that initial ‘this is going to look cool’ feeling once you put something on a shirt…you get excited about it.”
Mike would like to thank the Cornwall Downtown Business Improvement Association (DBIA), the Cornwall & Area Chamber of Commerce and Cornwall Economic development for helping small businesses through the pandemic. He would also like to thank his customers and supporters.
To inquire about a custom order and keep up with Mike’s products, check out his Facebook page.