By Michael Schaffer - Managing editor
Bob Holcomb, 67, has brought his skill to make tie dye clothing to Centerville when he opened Tie Dye Shop and Boutique nine weeks ago at 1735 S. 18th St.
Tie Dye Shop & Boutique offers short and long sleeve shirts, hoodies, shorts, tank tops, hats, purses, baby and kid's clothing, ladies fashions, jewelry, antiques, back packs and duffel bags. And almost of the items are tie-dyed by Holcomb.
Holcomb, born and raised in Washington state, after discharge from the U.S. Navy in 1964, found himself in the Haight Ashbury district in San Francisco awash in the hippie era where he lived for a short time. Holcomb said he then lived in Oregon, Arizona, back to Oregon and then Iowa.
Holcomb, now retired, came to Iowa in 2010 where he resided in an RV at Doggs RV Park near Rathbun Lake while looking for a house to purchase. Holcomb said he came to Iowa because of inexpensive property and lower tax rates.
The house he found is at 1735 S. 18th St. where he opened his business.
Holcomb said the tie-dying process is time consuming and requires a lot of water. His last water bill was for $200, he said.
Tie-dye 101 start to finish eight hours: Wash and dry the item to size it, Holcomb said. Soak it in cold water, ring dry and place on plastic. Now, manipulate the object to create the desired tie dye design and use rubber bands to hold it all together. Apply dyes then place the item in a plastic bag to keep it from drying out and bake it.
"In the summer time I lay them out on the sidewalk or the driveway and let the sun bake them," Holcomb said. "And in the winter time you can put them in the oven."
Holcomb said after four-six hours the heat sets the dye into the fabric. Holcomb washes the tie dye item in warm water and dries it before it becomes a finished product.
Holcomb then recommends customers wash each tie dye item with like colors the next couple washes.
Holcomb called his business a hobby that got out of hand.
"In the 1970s I did my first tie dye and this is what's come of it," Holcomb said of his business venture in Centerville. "It started off as a hobby and it just got out of hand and this is what we ended up with."
Holcomb said people are starting to get back into tie dye clothing.
"There's a lot of interest in it," Holcomb said. "And not just in Centerville but all over the country. People are starting to look at tie dies."
Holcomb's customer's ages range from the late 30s to early 60s, but he said he does see a few younger customers.
"A few of the kids are buying them but there's more adults buying tie dies," Holcomb said, because adults remember the 1960s and 1970s.
Holcomb said when customers walk into his store they are surprised by the selection and prices.
"Once they're in the store then they are pleasantly surprised by what's being offered to them," Holcomb said. "There is no sticker shock for them."
Tie Dye Shop & Boutique, 1735 S. 18th St., Centerville, is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and it does accept credit and debit cards, cash and checks. The owner can be reached by calling (641) 895-9619.