Welch business adjusting to realities presented by COVID-19

WELCH, WV (WOAY) – “COVID kicked us in the teeth.”

F & W Printing has gone through more in two decades than many businesses do in a lifetime. Its owners have worked together since the 1990’s, and have overcome long odds to get to where they are today.

“We fought from the beginning,” said F & W Printing Part Owner Fonda Walker. “It was very hard because we were women going into a male dominant business and no one wanted to try to help. So we struggled from the beginning, but we made it through two floods. The second flood, we lost $197,000 worth of equipment.”

COVID-19 has hit the printing business hard. Not only has it been tough getting customers in the doors, but the acquisition of necessary materials has been delayed so much that F and W’s original business model is no longer sustainable.

“The smaller printer is pretty much gone, basically,” said F & W Part Owner Frances Weaver. “We kept trying and trying and just wasn’t making any money. It was costing us to come in and open the door every day. You can’t run a business like that.”

Walker and Weaver have been through too much over the years to quit. They’re planning on relaunching in 2021 with a new identity.

“In the spring, we’re hoping to come back as just a graphic shop,” Walker said. “Doing sublimation, t shirts, vinyl, license plate signs, things like that.”

The goal is to come back next year more modern and stronger, and with all that Walker and Weaver have conquered, it seems foolish to bet against them.

“We’ve been working since we were 17-18 years old,” Weaver said. “[We] basically don’t want to sit at the house and look at the walls.”

F & W Printing is located on Howard Street in Welch across from City Hall, and more information on the business can be found on its Facebook page.

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