By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Octavia Houtekier-Boyd, assistant principal of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School, recalls shopping around for a local vendor to print logos on physical education uniforms for fourth- through eighth-grade students. Her inquiries began prior to the 2021-22 school year.
“I had worked with Handicap Davenport Center (HDC) at my previous position, so I included them in my inquiries,” she said. After corresponding with Alexis Dykstra, HDC’s executive assistant and screen print manager, Houtekier-Boyd chose HDC for the job.
“They quickly started working on mock-ups and pricing for us. Alexis worked with me for weeks to get things started. She answered my questions promptly and always had an idea if we needed to troubleshoot supply issues. We also feel that HDC is a valuable part of our community and wanted to support their work.”
The prices are “more than reasonable. I would consider them very competitive,” Houtekier-Boyd said. Since last year, the school also contracts HDC to do the printing on its regular uniform sweatshirts. “Parents really appreciate that the online HDC store is open year-round,” Houtekier-Boyd said. That allows parents to buy items any time to accommodate growth spurts or new students. St. Paul the Apostle has recommended HDC to other Scott County Catholic schools for their PE uniform needs, she said.
HDC has a designated department for screen-printing and embroidery. “It is a full running department that offers custom design, printing and embroidery services to the community. It falls under our enterprise department that completes subcontract work for the community,” Dykstra said.
For the past four years, HDC has focused on making the department run as a business to provide opportunities for associates (HDC participants) to work and earn a paycheck. “We have one in-house designer and one associate who works independently in the department,” she said. Other associates are doing trials runs in the department with the possibility of working there in the future.
During the Messenger’s visit to HDC last week, the screen-printing was set up for All Saints and John F. Kennedy Catholic schools in Davenport. “We are currently printing all gym uniforms for the Catholic (elementary) schools in Davenport,” Dykstra said. The Assumption High School track team orders attire from HDC as well. “We are truly honored and thankful for the opportunity.”
HDC offers custom designs, allows customers to provide their own artwork, and bases pricing on quantity of shirts or other apparel ordered and the number of different inks used.
“We have the ability to create custom stores for apparel whether it be for schools or businesses. We offer a wide variety of brands. We love offering great products to our customers,” Dykstra said.
John F. Kennedy followed St. Paul the Apostle’s recommendation. HDC “had good prices. We wanted to match what another Scott County Catholic School (SCCS) was doing,” said Principal Chad Steimle.
“With reasonable prices, this effort just seemed like a good way of being unified as SCCS and supporting HDC. It seemed like a win-win,” Steimle said. “All Saints was happy with the product and the pricing, especially with something that is mandatory (PE uniforms),” said Lyndsay Maloney, the school’s secretary.
“The one take-away that I always love to share with people is that when you purchase items from HDC, you are truly making a difference in the life of someone with disabilities,” Dykstra said. “Some of our folks are not always successful while working in the community for one reason or another. Here they are working to their full potential, creating awesome items for people and feeling a sense of accomplishment. The pride our folks have is real and a huge impact.”