Executive Q&A: Oklahoma City screen printer started business as a hobby

Gold Star Graphics entrepreneur Pam Guffey specializes in T-shirt screen printing, embroidery and novelty gifts.
by Paula Burkes Published: March 24, 2013

Pam Guffey, president of Gold Star Graphics screen printing and embroidery business, started her firm in 1987 when her kids were in Little League and she wanted a hobby.

A Dallas friend in the business wanted her to sell jobs here, in Oklahoma City, and send them there for printing. Guffey thought that was a crazy idea, since Dallas was hours away. Instead, she bought a book on how to print T-shirts for fun and profit, and flew with her mom to Scottsdale, Ariz., to attend a three-day seminar conducted by its author.

She subsequently bought a very small press and very small dryer and started printing from her garage.

From her 8,000-square-foot facility at 8812 S Bryant, Guffey, 59, sat down with The Oklahoman to talk about her professional and personal life. This is an edited transcript:

Q: Tell us about your roots.

A: I grew up in south Oklahoma City. My paternal grandparents owned gas stations around town and maternal grandparents owned and operated a trucking company. My dad (an OU graduate) and mom (a graduate of OBU) also were entrepreneurs. They, from our current facility, ran a trailer leasing business, which I sold after my mom died in 2005. My father preceded her in death in 1988. I'm their only child, and grew up helping with office work on school breaks and after I married, before I had children.

Q: What were the highlights of your school days?

A: I went to U.S. Grant High School, where I gravitated toward accounting and bookkeeping courses. They came naturally to me because of my work with the family business. Outside of class, I served as president of the pep club, which had 600 to 700 members then. The experience helped me develop my leadership skills, including talking in front of groups. I graduated in May; married Stan, my high school sweetheart, in August; and joined him at college at Eastern in Wilburton. From there, we went on to Oklahoma City University where Stan had a baseball scholarship. At one time, I thought I'd wanted to be an occupational therapist, but I got pregnant instead.


by Paula Burkes
Reporter
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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PERSONALLY SPEAKING

Position: President, Gold Star Graphics

Birth date: March 27, 1953

Family: husband Stan (they met in high school at U.S. Grant); sons Lance, 38, and Kyle, 36

Education: Some college at Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton

Philanthropy: Executive board, P.E.O. Sisterhood, whose emblem coincidentally is a gold star.

For fun: The Thunder (she holds season tickets) and golf — a 15 handicap, she plays at least once a week at Belmar Golf Club in Norman, and she and Stan are bound for Ireland in August to play.

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