Local News
6:40 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Hundreds of Workers Turn Louisville's CafePress Facility Into 'Santa's Workshop'

Retail companies typically hire extra employees for the holiday season to meet  shoppers’ demand for their products.

At Louisville’s CaféPress, the normal workforce of about 250 has been nearly quadrupled so the company can fill thousands of online orders coming in from around the world each hour to its Riverport faciilty. 

On a mid-December morning, Keith Pataluna is running on very little sleep, but it comes with the territory.

He’s the vice president of operations at CafePress’s 400,ooo  square foot Louisville facility, coordinating the company’s holiday sales rush.

“We doing about five thousand items an hour, OK?  So we’re bringing in right around the same click and pumping out the same amount,  so in a day’s time, right around a hundred thousand items coming in and going out,” he said. 

Pataluna likes to keep thing competitive and is even willing to sacrifice a little dignity to help CafePress workers meet their goals.

“They beat my target (challenge) by 3,000 items.  If I lost I (had) to do one of three dances, and they get to choose between the Wobble,  Soulja Boy’s song "Superman" and the Stanky Leg.  I don’t even know what that one is.”

Pataluna may be doing a lot of dancing this holiday season. CaféPress is running full steam, with two 12-hour shifts.

Created in California by two entrepreneurs, CafePress now turns out hundreds of different products such as coffee mugs and posters, with custom made T-shirts and other garments among their most popular items.

“If everything’s good to go, I send this shirt in.  It prints a white layer and it comes back out, then it prints a color layer. I press the shirt, make sure it’s nice and flat.Hopefully everything is correct," said Matthew Daughtery, who fills clothing orders on a high-tech printer.

Daughtery is one of about 800 temporary employees brought on board each year to meet the holiday demand.   He’s a welder by trade but hopes to get on at CaféPress full-time.

Maria Minter is one of those full-time workers, or veterans, as they’re called.  Her job title is "lead."

“I’m making sure that everyone has what they need to produce garments so we can put some smiles on faces.”

Once a CaféPress order is filled, it travels through a maze of conveyor belts and scanners.  

A sorting device sends packages to the appropriate shipping bin with a blast of air, an efficiency feature that operations manager Keith Pataluna says was added by the company.

“The people that made this took it to Victoria’s Secret.  They use it now, because they have a lot of light products in bags."

At his garment printing station, Matthew Daughtery says he fills a lot of orders for pop culture and military-themed items.     

But he takes special pride in the sentimental.

“You can tell when someone gets it for a Christmas present, they’re probably going to open it up and they’re probably going to cry," he says. "We try to take our time and do a good job because I feel like we’re Santa’s workshop, we’re just making everybody’s presents."

Listen to the story: