Looking at his family tree, it’s no surprise Zach Traxler ended up a maker.
Grandpa is a craftsman, dad is responsible for the Surf Ohio phenomenon, twin brother is a woodworker and mom spent years working for incubators and nonprofits, passing on valuable information about what it takes to be a small business owner.
“I knew from a very age young it was something that I wanted to pursue,” Traxler says.
And from a young age he did. He landed his first branding project for a local coffee roaster in his hometown of Athens at 12 or 13, and while peddling coffee in both senses of the word from his bike, he realized he had a knack for sales. His mom had always called him a wheeler and dealer, and he eventually found himself in a corporate sales career.
Traxler took the school of life path, picking up skills from his family like screen printing and construction, and foregoing four years at CCAD because it wasn’t for him.
“I learned and gained a lot of experience,” he says of his somewhat unorthodox path. “I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the decisions that I made back then – some of them good, some of them probably really bad, but all of those experiences together is what created what my wife and I have started.”
What they have started is 24-person print shop Traxler Custom Printing.
Traxler and his wife started the print shop in September of 2010, and he “jumped ship” at his corporate job to pursue it full-time in March of 2011. Now in the position to advise budding business owners, Traxler tells other entrepreneurs to basically do everything he didn’t do. However there was one thing he did very right from the start – establish their locavore business model.
“Had we not adopted ‘Buy local, buy Ohio’ from day one we would probably have struggled and maybe never even have made it past year two,” Traxler says.
Listen to the full podcast below as Traxler explains what the local movement means for business, and how the company has grown from husband-and-wife duo to 24 dedicated employees. Oh, and, finally find out the real story behind Surf Ohio.
The Columbus Chamber and CD102.5 have partnered to bring the first business-themed podcast to Columbus. During cbuzz, host and local comedian Dan Swartwout will speak with local business owners and entrepreneurs and allow them to tell their story and highlight their organization, while further inspiring the entrepreneurial spirit that is buzzing in the city.
Want to hear more? Visit columbus.org/resources/podcasts for new podcasts every other week.
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