Dassow, owner of TD Graphics in Kewaskum, poses inside
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
TD Graphics only employs three full-timers and one
“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
“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
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
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,”