Many people think of TSC Apparel as a relatively new but 'up-and-coming' apparel wholesaler. In reality, the company is a combination of long recognized industry suppliers that have played prominent roles in developing the imprinted sportswear supply chain over the last 30 years. The TSC in TSC Apparel actually stands for T-Shirt City. T-Shirt City was founded in the late 1970's in Cincinnati, Ohio. The business was set up to serve the emerging population of small screenprint and embroidery businesses that were struggling to get acceptable delivery/service from big mills like Fruit-of-the-Loom, Hanes, and Russell Athletic. Filling this void in a fast growing market helped T-Shirt City become one of the largest t-shirt and fleece distributors in the eastern United States. T-Shirt City was known as the 'place to go' by experienced decorators, because they could count on needed items being in stock and delivered to their dock doors by the following day.
About the same time, another company, California Shirt Sales - known in the market as CSS - was following a similar path on the West Coast. CSS was especially popular with the burgeoning surf and skate apparel companies because of their zeal for adding new styles and colors. Much like T-Shirt City, CSS really earned its reputation by differentiating the company as a full-service supplier. In fact, California Shirt customers could make one call to order not only garments, but also inks, thread, equipment, and other supplies needed to run their businesses.
In 1997, T-Shirt City and California Shirt sales were both acquired by Tultex Corporation, an established yet still rapidly growing vertical manufacturer of t-shirts and sweatshirts. Being part of Tultex had both pluses and minuses for the companies, but ultimately helped the two grow by opening up doors to large program opportunities. Tultex fell on hard times post-NAFTA and ultimately ended up in Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation in late 1999, despite ongoing profitability in the distribution businesses.
This became an opportunity for ProFill Holdings, a newly formed group of investors led by Joseph Rippe and Phil Vollmer of Cincinnati, Ohio. ProFill acquired the T-Shirt City and CSS distribution businesses from Tultex in the spring of 2000. The deal was by definition an acquisition - T-Shirt City and CSS operated without interruption throughout the bankruptcy proceedings - but practically speaking it felt more like a start-up, as management established over 20 new mill partners and added more than 300 styles to the company's product portfolio.
The new TSC continued to evolve, organically grow and prosper, in spite of the excess supply and deflationary price years of the new millennium. In the fall of 2005, the company announced a merger agreement with Georgia Tees, another pioneer in the industry and long recognized as the "Source of the South" for imprintable sportswear. The merger allowed TSC to swap out an undersized, sub-optimal location in Charlotte, North Carolina with a better suited facility in Atlanta, Georgia. This strategy also gave the company combined strength to capitalize on growth opportunities that had been less attainable individually. The success with the Georgia Tees merger led to a similar transaction in the summer of 2006, when the company acquired Sol Schultz & Company, a regional supplier located in Dayton, Ohio.
As the company approaches its 30th anniversary, the customer service orientation espoused by the founding businesses is just as strongly endorsed and practiced today. And at the forefront of this is the company's 100% Satisfaction Guarantee offered to their customers.