Mostly Trapping

Print shop also has fur-crafting store
Feb 20, 2020 13:05 ET

(Reprinted from above link)

Leader Graphics, on Hess Avenue in Erie, houses a print shop — and much more.

There’s a lot going on at the Leader Graphics building on Hess Avenue.

More than just the printing that makes up the heart of the business — although there’s plenty of that happening.

There’s also embroidery. Trophy engraving. Custom uniforms. Wall graphics and vehicle wraps. And perhaps the most unusual side-gig of all: PA Pelts, a business that will transform animal pelts into a custom hat or other item of clothing.

Pat Ott, the man who owns it all, calls Leader Graphics a one-stop shop. With each addition to the business, the phrase adds new meaning.

Erie 202Leader Graphics, on Hess Avenue in Erie, houses a print shop — and much more.

There’s a lot going on at the Leader Graphics building on Hess Avenue.

More than just the printing that makes up the heart of the business — although there’s plenty of that happening.

There’s also embroidery. Trophy engraving. Custom uniforms. Wall graphics and vehicle wraps. And perhaps the most unusual side-gig of all: PA Pelts, a business that will transform animal pelts into a custom hat or other item of clothing.

Pat Ott, the man who owns it all, calls Leader Graphics a one-stop shop. With each addition to the business, the phrase adds new meaning.

“People come in and they don’t realize how many different things we have to offer,” Ott said.

Although’s he’s been in the printing business for about 15 years, Ott, 49, started the business three years ago under the name Leader Graphics, at 1107 Hess Ave.

Leader Graphics produces a wide array of marketing materials for clients ranging from national auto companies to local universities.

The company recently applied a school-themed wrap onto a Gannon University bus, for example.

The diverse array of printers and other equipment on-site at Leader Graphics allows the company to meet just about any customer’s needs, Ott said.

“I’m a big-time problem-solver,” he said.

Ott has also found several opportunities to expand his business.

When the Erie Sport Store closed in 2018, Ott bought its embroidery and trophy division and brought over several employees to his shop.

Lori Welch, 57, came from the Erie Sport Store to Leader Graphics, where she works as an embroidery technician.

She said she was happy to be able to continue with the work she did at Erie Sport Store.

“I like doing what I do,” she said. “A lot of people followed us here,” she said of former Erie Sport Store’s customers.

Taking on the Erie Sport Store’s embroidery and trophy business brought a new client base to Leader Graphics, Ott said. The company now produces sports uniforms and other apparel and offers trophy engraving.

“It was a perfect fit for us,” he said of the acquisition.

Why does he keep adding to the business?

“It all serves the customer, whether it’s a corporate company or a high school or a college,” Ott said. “Any business that’s out there can come into our facility and take advantage of all the different departments that we have.”

Then there’s PA Pelts, which Ott describes as more of a hobby. He has a background in hunting, trapping and fishing, and got into the fur business when people began asking him for help handling pelts.

The pelts, and the objects into which they’ve been crafted, sit in a side room at the Leader Graphics building. Hats, jackets and other clothing and household items are among the possible final products.

Ott said PA Pelts was another good fit for his business because he had the equipment on hand to sew the furs into apparel.

“It goes along with what we do,” he said. “Fur’s just another extension of fabric.”