Shirts Unlimited opens storeThe storefront may be new, but the business is not.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
The storefront may be new, but the business is not.
Shirts Unlimited made the move from South Range to Superior this month. Owner Tina Prior plans to open the new showroom at 310 Belknap St. to customers starting Monday, but area coaches have been working with her for years to provide T-shirts, sweatshirts, jersey, jackets and more.
“If it can be printed on, she’s done it,” said Dennis Scherz, Northwestern High School head football coach. “She’s also printed our Tiger Cards.”
Shirts Unlimited has made a name for itself in screen-printing and embroidery through customer service and word-of-mouth.
“Tina has always been very flexible,” said Jason Kalin, Superior High School hockey coach. “She has creative designs and tries to find the best prices.” From jerseys to hockey apparel to hockey camp T-shirts, Shirts Unlimited is Kalin’s first choice.
“She goes out of her way to be a good business person,” he said, and her work is great. Kalin’s pond hockey team sported jerseys from Shirts Unlimited at the Great Lakes Pond Hockey Championship.
“We were the best team out there,” he said. “The best-looking team, anyway.”
Don Mulhern, girls basketball coach for the University of Wisconsin-Superior, said he appreciated Prior’s customer service. She’s personal, prompt and reasonably priced, he said.
“When communication is needed, she answers the phone,” he said, or she will drop by the office to talk face-to-face.
Scherz said he appreciated Prior’s flexibility.
“Sometimes I forget things or don’t get an order in a timely fashion,” he said. “I know if I get in a bind, she’ll drop everything.”
Prior said although she has regular store hours, she and her employees have worked late into the night to get an order out on time. Everything is printed in-shop, which means they can make sure orders get out on time.
Along with local teams, the business has printed shirts for events like the CASDA Walk to End Abuse and Bikers for Boobs fundraiser. She was fabulous to work with, Bikers for Boobs organizers said.
The largest order Prior’s ever filled was 5,000 T-shirts for a cancer walk fundraiser. The coolest job she’s done was working with the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition build in Douglas County. When the show’s crew left, they remained customers for a few years. Her work has gone international.
Shirts Unlimited printed T-shirts for South Shore basketball player Jolene Anderson’s team in Poland and sent orders to Venezuela.
Shirts Unlimited started 12 years ago with softball. When her daughter Taylor’s fifth-grade team needed shirts, Tina Prior was encouraged to make them. Then the South Range woman was asked to make shirts for the “3-on-3 for Tony G” tournament. Soon, a single heat press in a shed expanded into enough equipment and product to fill a three-car garage.
“I just thought there was a need for it,” Prior said. “It just grew and grew.”
The business became Prior’s full-time job about five years ago. The move to Superior will give Shirts Unlimited some extra breathing room — an extra 800 square feet for a showroom featuring high school- and college-themed apparel in adult, youth and child sizes. The move brings Prior closer to her customers and offers greater visibility for the business.
“I’m really happy to be here,” she said. “I think I’m going to love it here.”
Store hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Prior plans to stay open until 9 p.m. Wednesday nights to provide customization service for individuals — you can get your number and name printed on a sweatshirt, jersey or other article of clothing while you wait. The shop will also be open until 10 p.m. on Friday nights when the Spartans have a home football game.