Store Name Hopper’s Silk Screening and Trophy
Business Type Misc.
Location North Main, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin 54935
Nearby Businesses Joe’s Fox Hut, Fat Joe’s Bar and Grill, Taco John’s, Backstage Bar and Grill.
Owner/Manager Mark Hopper
Special Store Activities
Year Opened 1978
Phone (920) 922-3050
Fond du Lac, WI is situated at the south end of Lake Winnebago, a little more than 20 miles southeast of Oshkosh and approximately 40 miles south of Appleton. As of 2010, the population within the city was 43,021. There are 69,460 people within a ten mile radius of downtown.
Products Sold & Niche Developed
Hopper’s Silk Screening and Trophy’s full-fledged art department creates custom logos and screen printing for schools, sports teams, and company t-shirts or awards. In 1978, Mark’s father started Hopper’s Ski and Sports Center with a screen printing division. The Hopper name has come to be the very definition of quality and service. For 37 years, the Hoppers have stood by that definition. “When you say ‘Hopper’s’ everyone knows who you are and what you do.”
Market Segments Served
Clients can view the catalog and order their items online or in-store. “While [independent business owners] do have to compete with online businesses,” Mark says, “it provides an opportunity for your business to be seen.” Hopper believes his sales have increased as result of offering an online ordering option. Most of their client base is from the upper Midwest, however, when Mark’s sons participated in a summer youth baseball player exchange with players from Tokyo, he not only gained good friends and hosts, but also international clients. Labor saving capital improvements such as computerized graphic arts software and a printing machine that can make 900 t-shirts an hour helps out as well. The result has been quicker turn-around time on orders and increased customer satisfaction.
Contributions to the Business Community
Hopper’s Silk Screening and All Star Trophy was originally off the beaten path in the Village of North Fond du Lac. Approximately sixteen cars per day passed the site. In February of 2008, the Hoppers purchased a vacant corner building in downtown Fond du Lac and went from 5,000 to 15,000 sq. ft. of floor space. The first few of months the Great Recession were scary and Hopper says a lot of prayer helped them ride the storm. “When it is 30 degrees below,” he says, “you don’t sell a lot of t-shirts.” When Spring of 2008 came, however, they started breaking records. At their new location, they were now visible to approximately 10,000 cars passing their location. Mark says the last seven years have been the best and loves that every day is casual Friday.
Review by Dayna Sarver, UW-Extension CCED