Why we decided to jump into duty gear
For 20 years, American Tees was devoted to serving schools, businesses, and churches. COVID brought that to a screeching halt in 2020 when schools went virtual, camps weren’t happening, churches were no longer meeting, and businesses were no longer needing employee apparel. Everything we had relied on for two decades was gone in the blink of an eye, including our staff.
Pivot, Pivot, Pivot!
We were eventually able to bring our staff back by using the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan. Our management team immediately went to the drawing board to figure out how we could pivot to continue to serve our community and keep our staff employed in positions that would be consistently needed.
Our director’s husband worked as a first responder and one night she noticed that he was ordering online from a company out of Tennessee. At that moment it occurred to her that there was no reason why they couldn’t add duty gear and tactical gear to their already wide selection of apparel choices. This would be a no-brainer addition to the company as we already provided embroidery, alterations, and screen printing services.
In January 2021, we began to put pen to paper and bring on new vendors that would work with us to grow this portion of the company. In April 2021 we officially launched our American Uniform Wear line. From the beginning, we had an outstanding response from local department heads who were eager to support a company that has been around for so long and prides itself on customer service.
We began showing up in our community at trade shows to get in front of first responder industries. We created new bonds with them as we listened to what they had to say about their needs and the things their current vendors were doing that were and were not working for them. We learned quickly that online ordering was our biggest competition, in addition to companies who had been in business for a long time with little to no customer service and lacked a desire for growth in their company. Vendors began talking about us and wanted to be a part of our story.
Throughout 2021 we continued to grow by adding new clients, new vendors, and offerings. We built this part of our business with the focus of supporting the first responder industry. In early 2022 we realized offering the duty gear line was a wise choice for us as we saw consistent growth throughout 2021 and our best year yet!
Our management team sat down at the drawing board again to find a way to combine American Ts and the American Uniform Wear line into one cohesive name. Bringing American Uniform Wear into American Ts would be a challenge, but it wouldn’t be impossible. We went back to our roots from 2001 when we first started out and brought back the red, white, and blue colors to show our American pride. We pulled in the star from the American Uniform Wear line and added a few other details, such as adding the “ee” to Ts making a much more cohesive brand name. The final result was the logo you see proudly displayed across our website, store, and graphics today.
Now we pride ourselves on selling apparel, workwear, and duty gear. We are happy to serve those who continuously serve our communities such as first responders, like EMS, EMTs, paramedics, police, and firefighters, teachers, principals, coaches, pastors, group leaders, construction workers, and local businesses, both small businesses and large businesses. We handle everything from screen printed apparel for class tees to embroidered polos for employees.
Check out the change in our logo over the years! It is so cool to see how our company has grown and changed for the last two + decades.
The Future is Bright
As we enter the year 2023 we are so excited to continue to build this line of our brand and continue serving our community. We look forward to strengthening our relationships with our current vendors and customers, as well as building new bonds with those we have yet to meet. We’ll strive to always have top notch customer service and make your apparel, workwear, and duty gear ordering experience seamless. Give American Tees a try, we promise you won’t regret it!