Community Printing in South Tucson
Just South of Downtown Tucson, South 4th Avenue twists and turns and is lined with murals, benches, and planters colorfully decorated with ceramic and glass tile depicting barrio life, tattoo art designs, and symbols of local Pascua Yaqui and Tohono O’odham tribes. Many tortillerias and food businesses are located in South Tucson whose motto is; “the Pueblo Within a City.” South Tucson is just that--just over a square mile city incorporated within Tucson in 1936. It is home to the Gloo Factory Ink, a full service union print shop offering custom printing on t-shirts, stickers, paper, banners, digital printing and more. They stock union made t-shirts, recycled papers, and locally made fair trade textiles.
The Gloo Factory print shop is located on 26th Street across from El Torero Restaurant and the iconic Star Dust Ballroom which has been repurposed to house the the Global Justice Center as a space for grassroots organizing. Prior to opening in South Tucson, the Gloo Factory rented warehouse space in downtown Tucson for twelve years and moved south in 2010 because of economic pressures. The move afforded more capacity and room to grow, legitimacy as a business, and has become a resource for the community of South Tucson and beyond. The business has grown dramatically in recent years..
Today the Gloo Factory employs 8 people who are part of the Communication Workers of America Local 7026. The employees have a contract, certain benefits and better than average industry wages afforded by union participation. This move is in line with Gloo Factory ethos of providing ethically sourced shirts and local fair trade textiles as they believe that workers around the world have the right to organize and work in safe, dignified workplaces. The Gloo Factory is the only union screen printing shop in Southern Arizona south of Phoenix and prints for unions and campaigns across the country as well as progressive candidates.
The Gloo Factory calls itself a “community-minded” print shop and demonstrates this by donating on average $1,000 a month of printing service to local community groups. In addition to this ongoing commitment, Gloo Factory heavily invests their social and economic capital in local fair trade project DouglaPrieta Works on the U.S./Mexico border. The Gloo Factory sources tote bags, aprons, oven mitts, and other custom textile goods from this women’s sewing cooperative in Agua Prieta, Mexico. The cross border self-help organization aims to empower former NAFTA era, factory worker community members through developing capacity for micro-enterprise, facilitating English classes and gardening for greater self-sufficiency out of their community center.
The Gloo Factory’s environmental organizing roots have encouraged a move towards more sustainable practices. Last summer, Gloo Factory participated in a pilot of Local First Arizona’s SCALE UP program. Along with 10 other Tucson businesses, the Gloo Factory committed to reducing their energy and water use by learning how to implement a range of cost effective improvements upon completing a workshops series, providing baseline data, and completing water and energy audits. The Gloo Factory partnered with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona to purchase rainwater storage systems with capacity for up to 2,500 gallons of water. As the South Tucson space develops, the Gloo Factory plants the property with native landscaping. The Gloo Factory also has invested in more energy efficient lighting and offers 100% post-consumer waste recycled papers.
The Gloo Factory is very transparent and cognisant of their environmental and community impact while acknowledging the complexities of doing business in the industry. Because of Gloo Factory’s unique approach, it is a stand out, friendly and ready to serve your group, business, or organization’s custom printing needs.
Gloo Factory is partnering with Local First Arizona’s Tucson team and also offers a 10% discount to Local First Arizona members.