COLDWATER — What started as a small home business has grown over the last two years for Joe Dunn and his wife, Jessie.
Dunn, 51, is in his 19th year as a mechanic for the city of Coldwater. He worked security at gun shows around the region. In Indiana in 2017 “my friend and I saw the need for a niche service that wasn’t being offered. We thought gun enthusiasts would love to have personalized cups, exhibiting their favorite brands.”
He and his wife formed Dunn Outdoorsman Accessories and Custom Laser Works LLC. The couple sells gun accessories, including a kit which converts three types of pistols into a rifle, plus holsters and gun items.
Since Joe works days, she runs the business from their Marshall Street home.
“We started out using vinyl stencils and sandblasting images into tumblers, followed by painting to make them more appealing. He explained “I then researched powder coating as a more durable finish, eventually investing in a laser engraver.”
Their first laser, still in use, was a small format CO2 laser.
“Once we started receiving calls for larger, we began using a larger CO2 laser last year.” They then added a small fiber laser for fine engraving.
Furloughed in March for about five weeks because of COVID-19, Joe, his wife Jessie, and a team of several volunteers started sewing face masks and donating them where they were needed.
Dunn unrolled a MERV 11 furnace filter to put in the cloth for protection. They sewed about 5,000 and donated 4,000 to the community. The masks are washable.
Business boomed as people saw what they could produce. They also looked at making and improving face shields for protection from COVID-19 that does not restrict like masks.
The Dunns can provide almost anything with custom designing of vinyl decals, shirts, hats, and other apparel using heat transfer vinyl including color sublimation.
They purchased another machine which allow them to do 3-D printing of parts and accessories for guns after he obtained a Federal Firearms License.
Joe also prints sturdier feet for box fans when saw those provided often broke.
He learned to powder coat materials so the laser engraving looked better. “We can laser engrave on ceramic, firearms, tumblers, metal business cards, wood, acrylic, glass, leather, mirrors, marble and granite memorial plaques, polyester material, and more,” he went down the list.
The laser also allows custom cutouts in wood, acrylic, and fabric and can make custom trophies and signs.
The couple joined the Coldwater Area Chamber of Commerce after its local base begin to draw more local customers. Dunn likes to take someone’s idea and turn it into reality.
“When they come to us, I see what I can do,” he said.
Find Dunn Outdoorsman Accessories and Custom Laser Works LLC online at www.doa4ccu.com, on Facebook, or call (517) 204-2764.