Abate is the one-man force behind No Problem Printing & Design Studio (16006 Waterloo Road), located in the Waterloo Arts & Entertainment District near bustling neighbors like Six Shooter Coffee and Blue Arrow Records. Every day, Abate dishes up one-of-a-kind creative services for his clients – from playful new menus at Melt Bar & Grilled to a hip new logo and sleek business cards for a start-up business in North Collinwood.
From his storefront at the east end of Waterloo Road, Abate has seen the district – and neighborhood as a whole – grow dramatically over the years. That includes, of course, his own design and printing business.
After finishing his degree in graphic design at Lakeland Community College, Abate began his career in design and production at a local office of Minuteman Press. It was a small outfit, which ultimately gave him experience with all areas of operations – from ideation to layout to actual production of print materials. After years at Minuteman, Abate got what was arguably the biggest break of his career.
Starting in 2003, Abate ran the design department at a little up-and-coming company called Hot Cards. At the time, the now-substantial printing firm was in its infancy and Abate essentially was the design department. From four employees when Abate began, Hot Cards grew to include dozens of employees, massive in-house printing equipment and a blossoming sales department.
In 2011, Abate realized he needed a change of pace.
Abate knew what he loved most about his job: the ability to work one-on-one with clients and develop compelling, artistic expressions of their design needs. And, naturally, print them at a reasonable cost. It was the kind of work that drew him to the profession in the first place – from those early days as a jack of all trades in a small print and design studio.
With that kernel of an idea, No Problem Printing and Design Studio was born. Bit by bit the idea formed into reality.
As a Cleveland eastsider (Abate grew up in Mentor and bought his home in Wickliffe), an eastside location seemed the logical choice. As lifelong musician, Abate played countless times at the Beachland Ballroom & Tavern with his bandmates. And with a resilient community of artists in the surrounding neighborhood and reasonable commercial rents, the writing seemed to be on the wall.
All signs were pointing to North Collinwood.
After connecting with Cindy Barber at the Beachland, Abate began touring storefronts along Waterloo Road (what he didn’t know at the time would soon be the Waterloo Arts & Entertainment District) and soon found the home for his business for the next six years. The space needed a little cleaning, but the price was right, and the landlord saw the potential with Abate’s new enterprise. Plenty of sweat equity and hours of work later – the space was ready.
The early days of the business were spent building up relationships with new clients and making a name for the design shop. Key contracts with Melt Bar & Grilled (still in its early days of massive growth), Rover’s Morning Glory and Dr. Z Amplification all built a strong portfolio for No Problem Printing, which has only expanded over the years.
Most importantly, Abate takes pride in the work he does for all his clients – regardless of the size of the job. That, he says, is the key to his success as an arts-based business.