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In the groove

November 12, 2008
The Daily Mining Gazette

HANCOCK - When Ryan Shanahan decided to take over his father's laser engraving business, he sure didn't have to go far.

Shanahan opened U.P. Laser Engraving right out of his father's jewelry shop in downtown Hancock.

"For now we're operating out of Miller's Jewelry. It's kind of a short-term plan while we're developing the business," he said. "A lot of people already know this is where to come to get engraving done so that helps."

Article Photos

Above, U.P. Laser Engraving owner Ryan Shanahan, left, stands with laser designer John Mackey inside the shop Monday. Shanahan recently opened U.P. Laser Engraving out of his father’s business, Miller’s Jewelry in Hancock. Below, left, shows a display of wooden plaques created at U.P. Laser Engraving.

Shanahan said he initially became interested in opening his own business while growing up around the shop. His father, Mike Shanahan, was in the engraving business for 25 years. And having been approached recently by both his father and Master Engravers, to see if he were interested in buying them out and combining the two to form a new business, he couldn't pass it up.

"I knew it was a good opportunity," he said, noting that he is also in his third year at Michigan Technological University, majoring in business management. "I felt it would be a good hands-on way to experience business."

U.P. Laser Engraving is located on Quincy Street and utilizes cutting-edge technology to personalize a variety of materials customers may want including wood, plastic, metal and glass.

U.P. Laser Engraving specializes in plaques, wood burned and metal plated; trophies and medals, various styles and sizes are available; and glasses and mugs.

Bird's eye maple is popular for plaques, Shanahan said, because it burns the best and produces the best results.

"But there's a lot of things you can laser," he said. "We were doing boat oars for someone and we did some bird's eye canes. If it's wood, it's burnable."

Lending his creative edge in the shop is laser designer John Mackey, who has been with Miller's Jewelry since February. Mackey graduated from the International School of Art and Design at Finlandia University with a bachelor's degree in illustration and graphic design.

"I like working with them," Mackey said. "I get to be creative. This is what I went to school for."

A lot of times, Mackey said customers will come in knowing what they want and other times they don't.

"If they need help with a logo or a design, I can work with them," he said.

Customers are welcome to bring in their own items to be engraved or they can either order a material or choose from what they have in stock.

"We have a lot of stuff on hand," Shanahan said, listing glass, plaques, metal plates, beveled frames, among other items. "There's just a lot of things you can burn into."

Shanahan prides himself in providing a fast turnaround for his customers. He said usually, he can have the item back to the customer within a few days. For items that need to be ordered, he said it can take about a week to a week and a half.

"It may seem like it's a long and complicated process, but with the technology we use, it's really not," he said. "The laser machine acts like a big printer. We use CorelDRAW (a design program) to design our images. All the configurations are set up in CorelDRAW and then through another program it sets it up. All we have to do then is hit print."

U.P. Laser Engraving is located at 206 Quincy St. in Hancock. Business hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 482-2351.

Editor's note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by U.P. Laser Engraving of Hancock. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.



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