BROADWAY — Evan Harpine takes his father’s advice about one of the supposed no-no’s of business.
“He always told me business is business and family is family,” he said of separating the two. “He always said that there is a difference, and if you don’t understand, that’s your problem.”
The “family” vacation photos of Harpine and childhood friend Sam Carrier prove a long-standing relationship exists, and it’s one they feel has not been compromised with their business venture, ENS Graphics.
The design and print shop opened last March at 326 S. Main St., in the same building that houses the town’s Subway — which Harpine’s father, Doug, owns.
That means business help is never more than a holler away. On ENS’ first day, for example, its owners had to run an extension cord from Subway to get power as they waited for the electricity to be switched on in their part of the building.
Yet the longtime friends, both Broadway natives, seem to have a solid grip on their enterprise and, more importantly, where they want to take it.
Their goal, they say, is to be one of Broadway’s most giving businesses, a “thank-you” to the community.
“It seems knowing people around here helps out,” said Harpine, 28. “They want to see small businesses surviving. That’s part of the reason we give back as much as we can.”
Their line of work makes it easier to detect their appreciation since ENS’ products are highly visible. They “wrap” vehicles with graphics for businesses and car enthusiasts — one trip took them from a job in Connecticut to one in Florida, where a repeat customer wanted a flame pattern on his Porsche — and also offer car decals, magnets, stickers, banners, T-shirts, business cards and more.
“Soccer moms” and proud fathers of Little League players are frequent customers, said Carrier, 29. Money for smaller items with a player’s name or number on it goes back to the organization they’re a member of, such as Little League or a booster club.
Carrier and Harpine are particularly proud of a camo-style Broadway football helmet they wrapped and auctioned off for several hundred dollars at a high school game in the fall. They would like to sponsor a game at some point, as the older Harpine does with the Subway Bowl, an annual battle for a trophy between Broadway and Waynesboro, where he owns another sandwich shop.
Evan Harpine brings the car-wrapping know-how to the business, previously working with a similar business, Victory By Design in Harrisonburg. The two businesses are now partners on some projects.
Carrier has a background in graphic design, which he studied at Blue Ridge Community College and performed for employers that included Robert Good Photography in Elkton.
“What he doesn’t know, I know,” Harpine said, “and what I don’t know, he knows.”
But they both understand what they’ve gotten into: A business environment that has room for friendship.
“It doesn’t really feel like work. I love it when people come in and they actually see the work for the first time and it exceeds their expectations,” Harpine said. “When it turns into what I’d call a ‘real job,’ then it’s time for me to get out.”
Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or firstname.lastname@example.org