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'Unlimited' service: Shirts Unlimited celebrates 20 years

The Superior screenprinting business has a long reach.

Shirts Unlimited owner, Tina Prior, center, poses with her daughters Taylor Olson, left, and Alexa Prior outside the shop at 310 Belknap St. in Superior
Shirts Unlimited owner, Tina Prior, center, poses with her daughters Taylor Olson, left, and Alexa Prior outside the shop at 310 Belknap St. in Superior on Friday, Oct. 14.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
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SUPERIOR — Shirts Unlimited, a screenprinting and embroidery shop that made the move from South Range to Superior a decade ago, is turning 20. The family business is celebrating with in-house specials and weekly drawings for a dozen free T-shirts through the end of the year. Drawings for the shirts, which will be printed with a design of the winner’s choosing, will be done live on Facebook every Friday.

A peek around the storefront, located in the Fastenal building at 310 Belknap St., shows a wide range of available items, from apparel and blankets to stadium chairs, yard signs and banners.

“I guess I did name this Shirts Unlimited for a reason,” said owner Tina Prior.

David Schober pulls yellow ink over a Northwestern football conference champion shirt at Shirts Unlimited
David Schober pulls yellow ink over a Northwestern football conference champion shirt at Shirts Unlimited in Superior on Friday, Oct. 14.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

The store’s reach is also unlimited. Prior and her nine employees provide apparel to prep programs including Superior, Maple, Duluth East, Esko, Eau Claire Memorial and River Falls, as well as college gear for the University of Minnesota Duluth, University of Wisconsin-Superior and the College of St. Scholastica. Area businesses, including Genesis and Halvor Lines, are regular customers. The family business turns out items for 5Ks, cancer walks and so much more. Online orders travel the world.

Sue Nash, owner of Northland Adult Foster Care in Duluth, stopped by the shop Oct. 14 to order custom holiday gifts for her roughly 100 employees.

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“It's all-encompassing, but it’s wonderful,” said Nash, who’s known Prior since they were teens. “And we see it every day at my company because somebody’s wearing her stuff in my office every day. And they want more.”

The business is built on trust, loyalty and customer service.

“Their customer service is second to none,” said Rob Scott, head football coach at Eau Claire Memorial.

David Schober pulls ink across a shirt at Shirts Unlimited
David Schober pulls ink across a shirt at Shirts Unlimited in Superior on Friday, Oct. 14.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

It’s a competitive market, and Superior has several very good screenprinting companies, said Scott, who coached Superior football and baseball before moving to Eau Claire. Turnaround time sets Shirts Unlimited apart.

“They're able to turn a jersey around in 24 hours or less,” Scott said. “So when we had a late addition to our youth football league, for example, we could call them and they would print and deliver a jersey a lot of times the same day but for sure within 24 hours and other companies just weren’t able to come close to that.”

He continues to order from Shirts Unlimited, as does former Northwestern Tigers coach David Crail, now the athletic director at River Falls.

“She and her staff provided our football and baseball programs with a great selection of products along with a level of service that showed that our business was valued,” Crail said. “When I moved to River Falls, I needed to move quickly and come up with some new ideas for our program. Tina had certainly earned my trust over the years, and I appreciated that the distance did not change the outcome of the services provided.”

Even at a distance, the customer service shines.

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“Now instead of hand delivering (the order) comes through the mail, of course, but she has a way to get it, a lot of times, the next day,” Scott said.

That loyalty works both ways.

“We don’t say no. We come in on Saturday. We come in on Sunday,” Prior said.

“We don’t have minimums,” said her daughter, Taylor Olson.

“I think word of mouth is everything. And coaches talk. Reputation is everything. I guess I’ve never said no to a coach,” Prior said.

In addition to team orders, Shirts Unlimited carries a wide stock of school spirit items for all ages.

“It’s a clothing store,” said Nash, who was eyeing up a North Face jacket in the Halvor Lines section of the shop. “They can just walk in and buy something. They don’t have to be with a team or any kind of group. Come in and shop. It’s a great way to get your kids school spirit gear in their size.”

As the store celebrates 20 years in Douglas County, Prior sent a message to customers.

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David Schober checks on the Northwestern football conference champion shirts after adding yellow ink to them at Shirts Unlimited
David Schober checks on the Northwestern football conference champion shirts after adding yellow ink to them at Shirts Unlimited in Superior on Friday, Oct. 14.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

“I would like to thank all the schools and coaches that we do business with for staying local and not using those online companies from Texas,” she said. “It's a big part of why we are here today.”

The shop is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. In November and December, Shirts Unlimited will be open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Online sales are open 24/7 through the Shirts Unlimited website .

A Superior Spartan winter hat sits on top of a rack at Shirts Unlimited
A Superior Spartan winter hat sits on top of a rack at Shirts Unlimited in Superior on Friday, Oct. 14.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Northwestern Tigers gear is available at Shirts Unlimited
Northwestern Tigers gear is available at Shirts Unlimited in Superior on Friday, Oct. 14.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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As reported by Douglas County Circuit Court.