Knockout Prints Logo - Rolling Meadows

Since opening its doors in late 2020, KNOCKOUT Prints has delivered a customer-focused service experience that extends far beyond the industry standard. 

Literal ‘Hands-On’ Approach

KNOCKOUT’s services include logo design, screen printing and embroidery services, vinyl sign applications, personalized promotional products, and more.  Unlike many of its competitors, who offer a primarily web-based platform for placing and shipping orders, owner Shannon Thomas and her team prefer a more “hands-on” sales approach.

“I want customers to come in and see what we have to offer with their own eyes, rather than relying on an online photo and description that isn’t always accurate,” she explained.  “There’s real value in allowing your clients to touch and feel the fabrics before they place an order.  It’s just one way we try to stand out.”

Curb Appeal

Another way KNOCKOUT Prints stands out from others in the field is due to what Thomas calls “our storefront appeal.”  Located at 4007 West Algonquin Road, the shop’s large, colorful sign is highly visible to passing drivers and has proven quite successful at drawing them inside.

“I’d say 90% of our customers first learned about us by simply driving past the shop,” she added.

Once inside, customers encounter a welcoming, inviting storefront space with an abundance of natural light, comfortable seating, a range of product samples, and a multi-media design center where Thomas provides design and consulting services for clients who request them.

The shop is also dotted with examples of its work: commercial apparel with logos, sports team and other customized apparel, and a range of promotional products where businesses may apply their name, logo, or other identifiers.

Moreover, the space is available for group events – such as children’s birthday parties – where participants are invited to design their own T-shirts or similar item.

“Our space is functional, professional, and versatile,” Thomas said with pride.  “It’s a reflection of our overall approach to customer satisfaction.”

Fulfilling a Lifelong Passion

KNOCKOUT Prints is the tangible result of Thomas’ lifelong interest in graphic arts, combined with her insistence on being able to live her “second half” on her own terms.  After spending nearly 25 years in the finance and technology industries, Thomas lost her job in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Facing an uncertain future, Thomas decided it was time to follow her passion.

“I’ve been fascinated with logos and graphics since I was 13, and losing my job finally convinced me to follow the path I had always wanted to travel.  Plus, I told myself my next career was going to be something over which I had complete control.”

KNOCKOUT Prints was born.

Counts Rolling Meadows as Client

The shop’s client base is comprised primarily of organizations with 50 or more employees, including construction companies, community groups, local businesses, and municipalities – including Rolling Meadows.

KNOCKOUT Prints has proudly provided screen printing and embroidery for the City’s Public Works Department and, recently, supplied customized T-shirts for Independence Day parade volunteers.  It also designed the decorative street banners currently hanging from streetlight posts around town, and is providing the souvenir mugs sold at this year’s Wine-Down by the Creek event (August 13th). 

“It’s a pleasure to offer our support for City initiatives, considering how great Rolling Meadows has been to us,” Thomas recalled.  “City staff members, especially, have been amazing in terms of helping us do what was needed to get the business up and running.  Everyone we’ve worked with has been extremely helpful.”

‘Next Level’ Operations

Thomas recently completed a three-month business development program through Next Level Northwest, a nonprofit business accelerator established in 2018 by Rolling Meadows and four other northwest suburban communities.  The process, she explained, was eye-opening.

“As a business owner, it’s far too easy to immerse yourself in every little detail.  The Next Level Northwest program helped affirm that my role, as owner, is to view the big picture,” she said.  “Too often, I was operating from a defensive posture and responding to anything that might happen.  Now, my approach is more organized and thoughtful, and my business is better off because of it.”

KNOCKOUT Prints

4007 W. Algonquin Road

Rolling Meadows, IL 60008

https://knockoutprints.com

847-496-7173

Rolling Meadows’ reputation as a “vibrant shopping community” made it an ideal location for Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Meijer Inc. to open one of its first Illinois supercenters in 2004, recalls Tom Dant, Regional Vice President for Meijer.

“From the day the store opened, we’ve had much to celebrate here in Rolling Meadows,” Mr. Dant explained.  “The City’s diversity was – and remains – a major strength, and we’ve cherished the opportunity to build relationships with its leaders.  It’s really a testament to what we strive to be: a community partner.”

 Brian Lach, Store Director of the Rolling Meadows Meijer for the past five years, concurs.

“Our goal is to help make the City a better place by enriching the lives of its residents,” he explained.  “Our team members – many of whom also live here – are really the driving force behind those efforts.”

Support Community Events

The efforts to which Mr. Lach alludes include financial, material, and personnel support for a variety of community activities.  The City’s annual National Night Out (NNO) celebration, the Police Department’s “Shop with a RM Cop” holiday program, and its Family Day barbeque/social services fair have all benefited from Meijer’s generosity. 

In fact, the Rolling Meadows Meijer has provided more than $10,000 in food and beverage donations to City events over the past few years.  It has also donated prizes for multiple City contests: children’s art competitions, holiday light decorating contests, and gift cards for community raffles.

“Meijer is always ready to step up and help – whether it’s providing sponsorship support for City events or donating supplies to local organizations and initiatives,” said Lori Ciezak, Assistant to the City Manager and liaison to Rolling Meadows’ Community Events Foundation.  “Their contributions are incredibly generous, they are ready to assist even at the shortest of notices, and the store’s leadership team has been exceptional to work with.” 

Team members at the Meijer store also like to get in on the action.  Residents attending National Night Out over the past several years have likely noticed cashiers, greeters, pharmacy technicians, and team leaders – many of whom have likely served them as store customers – grilling complimentary burgers for guests to enjoy.

“We try to have fun with it,” Mr. Lach, the store director, explained.  “These events are a great way for our employees to meet new people and take part in the community.  One thing I’m most proud of is that my team likes to volunteer with me.”

Benefit Local Food Pantries

Meijer’s Simply Give program, which supports local food pantries across the Midwest, is another way the company strives to make a difference.  In late 2020, with the need greater than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rolling Meadows store and its customers raised $35,000 to benefit food banks in Elk Grove and Schaumburg Townships.

Since the program’s inception in 2008, Simply Give has generated $62 million (620 million meals) for nearly 350 food pantry partners.

Team members are also encouraged to identify families who may need assistance.

“We always look for ways to get food to local food pantries, but we try not to limit ourselves when it comes to assisting others,” Mr. Lach said, citing Meijer’s donation of winter coats, hats, and gloves to area families this past winter.

A Community Business

A generation of Rolling Meadows residents cannot recall a time when Meijer was not a vital cog in the City’s economic engine.  However, Meijer’s announcement in late 2000 that it was building a 210,000 square foot supercenter – a complete supermarket that also offered extensive lines of general merchandise – near the intersection of Algonquin and Golf Roads represented a major development project for the greater northwest suburban area.

The store, which currently employs more than 200 team members, has grown with the community and undergone several updates since it first opened in 2004.  The latest upgrade took place in 2019 and involved a comprehensive remodeling/reimagining of all store departments, a refinished parking lot, and installation of electric vehicle charging stations.

“I’m proud of the role this store plays in the Rolling Meadows community – especially how we take care of our customers,” Mr. Lach explained.  “My team members and I know a lot of them by name and others by their buying habits.  We work hard to make their shopping experiences rewarding.”

Just as the store has always tried to make the community it serves stronger.

Meijer

1301 Meijer Drive

847-690-1500

www.meijer.com

Joelle’s Hallmark Shop

The retail industry has changed dramatically in the 24 years since Joelle’s Hallmark on Kirchoff Road began serving customers, but owner Anthony Brescia’s commitment to personalized customer service has ensured that this family-owned business always treats its customers as extended family.

“After almost 25 years, it’s impossible to think of our customers as anything other than family,” he explained.  “We know many of them by name, and plenty of others by their buying preferences.  Those relationships help us offer merchandise that appeals to their distinct tastes.”

Joelle’s Hallmark offers a wide selection of products that goes far beyond greeting cards: it features everything from collectible figurines and jewelry to home décor and apparel (scarves, hats, purses, etc.)  The store’s appearance and layout continually evolve, and new merchandise lines help attract new generations of shoppers.

However, holidays and special occasions remain a significant part of the store’s business.  “I live my life holiday to holiday, rather than year-to-year,” Mr. Brescia said with a laugh.

Years ago, Mr. Brescia worked for his father’s direct mail business.  His mother, Dora, enjoyed collecting figurines, and he would often help her find them at area shops – including Hallmark stores.  The connections Mr. Brescia made during those treasure hunts played a large role in his decision to pursue success as a small business owner.

Mr. Brescia named the store after his wife, Joelle, who grew up in Rolling Meadows and often helps with buying and merchandising decisions.

Joelle’s Hallmark Shop

3118 Kirchoff Road (Jewel Shopping Center)

847-797-1199

Joelle’s Hallmark Shop