TD Graphics moves into new facility in Kewaskum
Change helps with access for customers

By Nicholas Dettmann

Jan. 2, 2019

 Travis Dassow, owner of TD Graphics in Kewaskum, poses inside the
company’s new facility Friday.
Nicholas Dettmann/Daily News

KEWASKUM — Travis Dassow was just sick of relying on someone else to do what he needed done and, at the same time, wanted to save a little money.

Nearly 15 years later, he’s got a business that’s succeeded far beyond his imagination.

The West Bend native owns TD Graphics, which moved into its new location in November, and so far Dassow is happy to report the move has gone over well with his customers.

TD Graphics, now at 667 Trading Post Lane near DACO Precision Tool, was formerly located in the industrial park behind Walmart on the south side of West Bend on Corporate Center Drive. The size of the facility, about 5,000 square feet, didn’t change much from the new to old. What improved was easier access for Dassow’s customers as many of them drive semitrucks.

“I was worried a little bit moving from West Bend to in between the West Bend and Kewaskum area,” Dassow said. “I was hoping I wasn’t going to lose any of my customers down in the Germantown, Milwaukee area. Actually, a lot of them like it a lot more because it’s right off of Highway 45.”

TD Graphics specializes in graphic design and printing, including screen printing for T-shirts. But his most notable customers include race teams. At TD Graphics, race car wraps are designed and installed on local race car drivers’ late model stock cars. TD Graphics also wraps several kinds of vehicles, including box trucks, snowmobiles and ATVs. It was a business that unofficially started in the basement of his parents’ home in 2005 as a teenager.

“It was just one of those deals that I stumbled upon,” Dassow said. “It wasn’t something I was planning on doing. I just wanted to letter my own race cars and it turned into something way bigger than that, something I never even would’ve imagined.”

It didn’t take long for him to find out out there was correlation between engineering, which he studied in school, and graphic design. He was also at a crossroad for his career and his life.

“I figured I had to make money somehow because I knew racing wasn’t going to do it,” said Dassow, who these days occasionally races in the super late model division at Slinger Super Speedway.

To his surprise, the business grew. And it grew because of his active involvement with his target market – race car drivers.

Dassow competed regularly at Slinger Super Speedway in the late models divisions for much of the early 2000s and traveled across the country with his race car. In 2007, he won a national American Speed Association championship with the late Howie Lettow as his crew chief. Lettow was inducted into the Southeastern Wisconsin Short-Track Hall of Fame in Hartford in November. Dassow’s interactions with drivers at the track also helped him save money on advertising, using just word of mouth.

Word quickly spread to the point where in 2009, he opened up about a 24foot by 30-foot space in his race shop near Bob Fish in West Bend. Rubbing shoulders, not fenders, with potential customers was a key element in helping TD Graphics grow.

“I figured out race car drivers were cheap,” Dassow said with a laugh. “I’m one of them.”

“It was a lot of interaction at the race track,” he said. “Seeing people at the race track really helped.”

Still racing on a routine schedule, after three years, Dassow moved into a larger facility on Corporate Center Drive. At that point, Dassow had a business. He was a race car driver and a businessman.

 Brad Mueller competes in a super late model race Sept. 9 at Slinger Super Speedway. Mueller is one of the many drivers who have their cars’ paint schemes designed by Travis Dassow’s TD Graphics.
Daily News

TD Graphics moved into that location not only because the company was growing with clients, but also the size of clients, such as semi-trucks. He also started picking up business from outside southeastern Wisconsin. He’s served customers in Illinois, Minnesota, Florida and even Australia.

TD Graphics only employs three full-timers and one part-timer.

“My vision was not to do this for a living at all,” Dassow said. “I never thought of doing it as a living. It just kept on moving forward, getting bigger and bigger. It got to the point of whether I had to go out and find a job or try to expand it.”

At the time of that life-changing decision, Dassow was working for his dad, Mike, as vending delivery driver and serviceman.

“I went from delivering soda and candy to doing vinyl,” Travis said. “I was sick of the drive too.”

One of his deciding factors was the idea of working for himself, “controlling my own destiny, pretty much,” he said.

When asked when he realized he had a prospering business, he said he was kind of blinded and didn’t pick up on it for quite some time. Also at that time, he met Kelsey Bauer, who is now his wife, and was in the process of buying a house.

“It grew so fast that I didn’t even realize it,” Dassow said.

He finally realized it in 2013 and the business was well on its way.

“I knew it was getting bigger because I was spending more money to keep up,” he said with a smile.

Dassow’s work can be seen on an estimated half of the regular limited late models and super late models that race weekly at Slinger Super Speedway, including John DeAngelis Jr., Brad Keith, Brad Mueller, Gary LaMonte and Rich Loch, to name a few.

“It turned into something I never would’ve imagined,” Dassow said.