Silkworm is a multimillion-dollar full-service screen printing, promotional product, embroidery, signage, awards, and graphic design company that is locally owned, regionally connected, and nationally recognized. A one-stop shop for anything and everything with a logo, it employs many people and supplies the community with quality products. Always willing to give back to the community, its t-shirts are omnipresent at nearly every charitable event in southern Illinois.
WSIU Public Broadcasting, a service of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is pleased to announce Silkworm as the new business recipient of the monthly 'Good Neighbor' award as a part of WSIU's One Region, All Neighbors initiative. Inspired by Fred Rogers, the campaign recognizes people who exemplify kindness and compassion and make a positive impact in their communities.
"Silkworm is a success because of the people and communities that are committed to doing business locally and value the personal relationships we build. Giving back, being active, and making a positive impact in our communities is important to us. One of our main missions as a company is to support the growth and make a positive impact for individual team members, customers, and our community," said Bob Chambers, owner of Silkworm.
Bob Chambers started designing and screen printing t-shirts for the football team, wrestling team, and cheerleaders in high school. While studying fine arts at SIU, he teamed up with a friend and fellow wrestler to do something bigger. That’s how the idea for Silkworm came about.
"It's always great when our customers and our community appreciates and realizes the things that we do to support them. It was part of our foundation when we were building the company that we wanted to be very entrenched and involved in the communities we serve. And we understand that it's not only about making the sale but also building relationships and having long-term customers that become your friends and your advocates. So, when we can help them out, we do. And I think that's why we've been here for almost 40 years," said Cheryl Endres, executive VP/operations manager at Silkworm.
Expressing his views on being a good neighbor and what it means to him, Bob said, "Being part of a smaller community means that you have a responsibility to do what's necessary to keep that neighborhood a positive place. Being a good neighbor is doing the little things that make your neighborhood or your community special, a place you want to be, a place you want to work and live."
Profitability is essential in Silkworm's business model, but it's at the end of the equation, not the beginning. They focus on service quality, the process, system, and their team members—all the things from workplace design to company culture make Silkworm a great place to work and do business.
“I have been a very satisfied paying customer several times. I have also asked Silkworm for t-shirt donations five years in a row for my class field trips to Shedd Aquarium. Each time, the company was very willing to donate many beautiful t-shirts for my students and me. The team was so helpful, generous, efficient, pleasant and professional. They are always wonderful to work with,” said nominator Michelle Garthe, academic talent teacher at Thomas School, Carbondale.