GROTON -- If anyone asks Becky Greco of Greco Graphics, a business she and husband James began out of their basement in 1988, who was responsible for their success, the clothing and sports apparel designer is quick to say that the government had nothing to do with it.
"We did it!" declared Becky Greco from the couple's newest location at Mill Run Plaza which they opened in 2005.
No one helped the couple take advantage of their silk screening and embroidery skills, to say nothing of artistic design sense, and turn them into a going concern that eventually outgrew their basement and forced them to open their first shop in Billerica as the new millennium began.
From the basement of their home, the business grew steadily with customers learning about it through word of mouth. With the move to the new retail location, the couple teamed up with embroiderer Richard Pigott and invested in a 12-head embroidery machine.
The Grecos were off and running and soon expanded into the designing of locally based sports apparel such as those for Billerica High School. So popular did their merchandise become that everywhere people seemed to be wearing or using their creations.
With a good track record in Billerica, the Grecos finally decided to open a second store in their own home town and seven years ago moved in to their current location at 491 Main Street in Groton.
There, the team continued to produce apparel and logoed equipment for such local sports teams as the Groton-Dunstable Crusaders and North Middlesex Patriots that have proven popular with Groton, Dunstable, Pepperell, and Townsend customers.
"We decided to locate our second store in Groton because it's a good place to do business and people here like to do business with local merchants," said Greco of the move. "Also, we saw a need for it here. There really is no place around Groton that does what we do.
"We are one of the major suppliers for apparel for the district," continued Greco. "We have things in our store that are Crusader gear but we also do custom orders for sports teams and different organizations in town. Jackets, T-shirts, sweatshirts, pants, hats, and more. We do general and non-specific items too but also gear for soccer and basketball teams. We have contracts for Lawrence Academy and Groton School gear as well."
But sports-themed product is not the only kind of apparel with which Greco Graphics concerns itself, with the encouragement of local government, the company took little time to establish itself and become a fixture in the local community.
"Business in Groton is steady and the town's government is supportive," said Greco. "We also do work for different town departments like the Fire Department and the Building Department."
The company's success however, did not happen in a vacuum. According to Greco, she and her husband had already invested many years of volunteerism in the community before ever opening their Groton store.
"My husband was a soccer coach for many years and I was on the soccer board handling equipment, fields, and uniforms," Greco said. "In addition, my husband builds the sets for the annual Florence Roche school play and was a basketball coach at one time too."
More recently, the couple has become involved with school activities most notably the junior-senior prom.
"My husband builds the sets for the pre-prom parade and I announce the couples as they come onto the stage," said Greco. "They did something similar before but when my daughter became involved, she asked us if we could help. My husband likes to build sets and stages and ended up doing a little more than what they used to have. We've been involved in the pre-prom event now for six years."
Indeed, Becky Greco is quick to extend much of the credit for Greco Graphics' success to husband James.
"I believe the secret of Greco Graphics' success is mostly due to my husband," admitted Greco. "He is very creative and does great work designing people's logos and T-shits. Also, I think our reliability is responsible too. When we say it'll be done, it gets done. And the quality! We have really good quality merchandise. If people really shop around, they'll find that we're the best around at what we do."
To find out for themselves how good Greco Graphics is, those interested can learn more either by visiting the company's website at http://www.grecographics.com or better yet, drop in to their Mill Run Plaza location which is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
As for the Grecos, at the moment they are choosing to rest on their laurels while keeping up with the ever changing fashion world.
"I think we'll probably stick with what we have," said Greco of the possibility of expanding to other locations. "The lines of items we have are always changing, depending on what the fashions are and what's popular. Right now, I think people are moving from hoodies more to crew necks again and fleece jackets seem to be coming back."