Hot Ink – Stith Printing Puts Horsepower on Your Back
Raise your hand if you’ve got a dresser drawer (or several) overflowing with car-related T-shirts. C’mon, we know you do! Collecting shirts from events, races, shops, and brands is an integral part of the hot-rodding lifestyle.
Chances are, one or more of the shirts in your collection originated at Stith Printing. Owned by Kevin Stith, the business is an outgrowth of Stith’s lifelong passion for drag racing, hot rods, and basically anything automotive.
“I was street racing and running around and needed money, and a friend of mine who had a screen-printing company had some overrun work,” Kevin says of his start in the business, way back in 1978. That side gig soon grew more lucrative than Kevin’s day job. “It got to the point where I was making more money at night and on the weekend. It’s been full-time-plus ever since.”
Hanging out at West Coast drag strips like Orange County, Irwindale, and Bakersfield helped Kevin establish strong ties with race teams and hot rodders – ties that remain strong. The company not only produces Goodguys event shirts and apparel, but also does design and printing for more than 100 car shows and rod runs around the country. Stith Printing does plenty of business beyond the car community, too, but it’s obvious to see the passion in the company’s automotive designs.
“What sells is the artwork,” Kevin says. “I’m blessed to have four artists who are very, very good at what they do. And they all like cars!”
All event shirt art is custom designed, with plenty of collaboration from within the company and the event producer. “The artwork is always kind of a community project,” Kevin says. “We’re always trying to give the customer the best product they can get.”
It’s a bit of a circular relationship, as the business also supports many events as a vendor and sponsor. “The racing community has been very good to us, so we try to give back as much as we can,” Kevin says. Examples include a new sponsorship program awarding two eligible Junior Dragster teams with team artwork and apparel packages, and sponsoring the Fuel Altered class at the fabled March Meet.
After more than 35 years in Southern California, Stith relocated to Carson City, Nevada, six years ago and was fortunate to retain many longtime team members. Of the company’s 16 current employees, Kevin says one has been with Stith 36 years, and several more have been on board 10- and 20-plus years. “Without them, it doesn’t happen,” he says. “I was very fortunate to surround myself with good people.”
Kevin is also quick to credit his wife Vicky. “If it wasn’t for her the last 35 years, it would not have happened,” he says. “She probably works harder than I do at the shows. I do the social end of it; she sells, and sells, and sells.”
Much like a good race team, Stith Printing was busy with preseason work when we stopped by in late-February, gearing up for another year of delivering cool designs and quality apparel to its customers. “We’re not the cheapest around,” Kevin says, “I just try to make sure you get the best product possible.”
5130 Metric Way
Carson City, Nevada
1 (800) 490-8333
Photos by Steven Bunker