Print shop helps honor 2020 graduates with custom signs

LOS ANGELES -- The owners of print shop Marketink XL have had to pivot their business strategy several times over the last 28 years, but the coronavirus pandemic hit their Long Beach, CA small business particularly hard.

"We are a business-to-business service company and most of what we do is for large corporations and events," Mercedes Sepko said. "When all the events got canceled, all of our business got canceled."

As commencement ceremonies across the region were canceled or postponed, the Sepkos' saw a need for their print shop in the community.

The Sepko's launched a new venture, called Honor Our Grads, and began printing yard signs honoring graduates at schools!

"We felt really bad for all of the graduates that were basically being robbed of their moment," Mercedes said. "That's when we came up this idea of making these signs as a way to help families and schools celebrate their graduates."

Teachers at Rogers Middle School in Belmont Park will be surprising their graduating eighth graders with signs, after the PTA purchased 300 from Marketink XL.

"We want to make sure the kids know that we celebrate and honor them, even if they aren't physically here at school every day," said Jeff Wood, principal of Rogers Middle School.

Individual signs cost $17.95. The Sepko's say a portion of the proceeds will go towards the Long Beach community.

"Part of the proceeds of all these signs is going to the COVID-19 Long Beach Neighborhood Relief Fund that provides free groceries to families in need that have been heavily affected by the pandemic," Mercedes said.