Owners: Tom and Amy Verdensky
358 – 150th Avenue, Madeira Beach FL 33708
The year was 2008, and Tom and Amy Verdensky had just opened their graphic design company, Squid Ink, catering mostly to area restaurants. “Tom was a chef, and knew a lot of potential clients; we both knew about menu design,” explains Amy. “My parents had their own design and print business, Star Graphics, and I learned about the business from them. When they retired, Tom and I decided to open our own shop in Seminole.”
Tom’s connections in the restaurant industry gave the fledging Squid Ink a running start despite the looming recession. Tom handled sales and Amy covered graphic design. They’d weathered the shakiness of a start-up, made it through the worst of the recession relatively unscathed … and then came the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf in 2010.
“That hit hard,” admits Amy. “Our mainstay clients, the restaurants, were concerned about the impact on tourism, of course, so they weren’t placing print orders like they used to. We had to find other ways of bringing in business — fast!”
They decided to branch out, and Squid Ink began producing custom apparel for companies and local events. “It was hard making the transition from a purely service company to one that also handled retail sales,” admits Amy, “but we quickly contracted with several clients for small runs of t-shirts and other advertising apparel, and that side of our business started to grow.”
By 2014, the company recognized the value of business networking, and joined the Treasure Island & Madeira Beach Chamber of Commerce. “It was a personable and personal Chamber,” says Amy. “We could make good connections for our business, and support the community at the same time. That was important.”
Three years later, the company moved its base to Madeira Beach. “We’ve always loved the beach, and most of our business came from here,” Amy points out. “It was a good move.”
Today, Squid Ink has expanded to a 5-employee shop, with a volume of approximately $750K annually. Amy serves on the Board of our Chamber, and is an integral part of the Old Salt Fishing Foundation and its King of the Beach Fishing Tournaments. The company also supports the Rotary Club of the Gulf Beaches.
Amy sees the company growing in the specialty apparel niche: t-shirts, bill caps, team gear, even trophies, totes, towels, and the like.
“There’s competition online, of course,” Amy observes, “but Squid Ink offers its clients the confidence that comes with personalized attention from a staff that has years of experience in this field. We enjoy talking with clients and finding just the right products to help promote their brands at affordable prices. We’re excited about this next growth phase!”