Tucked away on the second floor of what was once Broad Street's Antopolsky Hardware Store, two small rooms hum with computers.
Inside among exposed brick walls and rough-hewn columns, Dave Starzec and Steve McMichael are like boys with toys - expensive toys. But when it comes to digital imaging, they are serious.
Serious enough to start Digital Solutions Ink.
Mr. Starzec, formerly a partner with Aiken-based KC Productions, saw a niche for the services of a digital imaging center, and parted ways with Aiken-based public relations and advertising group to launch DSI - two rooms crammed with six powerful Macintosh computers, scanners, and four expensive, high-end printers.
"They're all juiced up. They're fast that's why we've got them," Mr. Starzec said. One computer used for manipulating memory hungry high resolution image files packs 280 megabytes of RAM - no small amount of memory.
The high-tech venture proffers high-quality scanning, photo manipulation, retouching, and digital high-quality proofs and poster-size digital prints.
DSI also can make compact discs from files, which lets clients archive image collections or make permanent backup copies of crucial computer files.
"We've been open two days, and we've already done seven jobs," Mr. Starzec said. DSI opened last week.
Mr. Starzec hired Mr. McMichael, a former college roommate, away from a similar job as a color separator in Denver. The two kept in touch, often calling each other for help with technical questions before calling technical support lines by computer and software manufacturers.
"We've been solving technical problems together for years," Mr. McMichael said. "We didn't have to sit on hold as long."
DSI is not a pre-press graphics shop, which readies layouts, graphics and photographs for publication, Mr. Starzec said.
"We're not a service bureau. We're don't do film output...We output directly to digital proofs and large format prints."
There's sure to be a niche for the service, or they wouldn't have launched the business, Mr. Starzec said. He noticed the need while at KC Productions, where he was having to send material by mail to more than one place, usually out of town, for each step of the process for some projects. If there was a problem or a change, that meant another round trip by mail, and a three or five day hold-up.
DSI's computers put everything under one roof, which should let clients cut days off turnaround time, Mr. Starzec said.
"We're skipping processes with technology," he said.
Clients could include magazine publishers, trade show exhibitors, in-house marketing presentations, artists, even occasional walk-in customers wanting a photo retouched.
But it's not the toys that really make the concept work, but the boys, according to Mr. Starzec.
"It is expensive equipment, but it's really the worth of the people running it that makes it valuable," Mr. Starzec said. "It's not the machines and technology, it's the know-how."
Both have been in the business about 10 years.
"My experience is in production end," Mr. McMichael said. "Whereas Dave's experience is in working in design to production."
The idea for DSI is not a new concept, Mr. Starzec said, but new for the area. Still, he thinks there's room for growth.
"I'd like to syndicate this concept," he said.