Apparel Graphic Academy

Tacoma Tee Shirts 3 Reasons You Want One

History of Tacoma T-Shirts

The city of Tacoma is revitalized with a booming economy and it is a great place to buy custom printed t-shirts. The custom t-shirt industry has roots starting back up on Tacoma Avenue in 1977 with Northwest Embroidery.  This tiny shop was the birth place for custom printed apparel in the area. The t-shirt industry was in its infancy in the late 1970’s, but caught on quickly and many other t-shirt shops opened up in Tacoma and Seattle. By the mid 80’s local business wanted to be identified with their business logo on apparel. They wanted their employees to look sharp and represent their brand and image.

Boeing was a big influence in the 1980’s when they required all their staff to wear embroidered golf shirts and work shirts. The apparel boom was on in Tacoma with t-shirt companies opening up everywhere. Another long time printer, Skip Jenson owner of Post Industrial Press opened his doors to help meet demand of printed shirts. After 30 plus years, Skip is still printing strong out on South Tacoma Way.

Recommended Tee Shirt Printers in Tacoma

There are so many great t-shirt printers in Tacoma, however, it is my duty to recommend some of the great ones. Of course Skip out in Post Industrial press will always do you right. Skip can print multi-color prints with fades and crisp detail. Skip can take a piece of artwork and duplicate it on a t-shirt.

Hi Tech Screen has been printing shirts since the late 80’s  and specializes in hot rod and car prints. If you are having a car show and need some printing give Tina and Ken a jingle out at Hi Tech.

T-Town printing up in the Hill Top area is another great place to go for printing. They have multiple printing carousels and a fully stocked showroom. T-town features a line of Tacoma shirts called “T-Town Apparel” You can purchase these local shirts right in their showroom. Pat and Gail Ringrose are the owners.

Northwest Custom Apparel started in Tacoma in 1977 and moved their operation about 5 miles away to Milton in 1981. They recently re-branded their entire company and remodeled their showroom with new styles and fashions from Port Authority. The specialize in multi-color printed t-shirts and sweatshirts, using their new direct to garment printers. The printers are manufactured in Israel and are the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.  The cool thing about DTG printing is the ink is water-based, unlike screen printing ink that is known for cancer causing carcinogens. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable with a great sense of humor. If you do not have a design their graphic artist, Randy Fountain, will sit down with you and put your idea into reality.  Embroidery is their specialty since 1977. You can purchase custom embroidered baseball caps and jackets with your business or team’s logo.

Three Reasons to Buy Tee Shirts in Tacoma

  1.  Quality: Tacoma was the birth place for custom t-shirts and all the companies have experience that will give you the best looking tee shirt ever.
  2. Service: Tacoma businesses pride themselves on customer service. You will not find employees that care for their customer anywhere else in the country.
  3. Guarantee: Tacoma t-shirt printers GUARANTEE their printed image will be sharp, correctly sized  with vibrant colors.

Now that you have a brief history and some reasons to buy T-shirts in Tacoma, go sit down and design yourself a logo and we will be waiting to print your shirts.

Erik Mickelson

*Erik’s family has been in the Tacoma Apparel Business since 1977. After graduating Washington State University in 1996, Erik joined his father, Jim Mickelson at NW Custom Apparel.

Erik recommends if you do not have artwork and want to fiddle around online creating some t-shirt artwork, please go to the online t-shirt designer at