Our Story

Contrary to the company timeline below, the story of Underground Printing really started in 1992. That's when UGP co-founders Rishi Narayan and Ryan Gregg met in 6th grade. Hundreds of pickup basketball games and several broken eyeglasses later, they became best friends, paving the way for the creation of the Underground Printing we know now.

After high school, Ryan and Rishi both ended up at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where engineering classes didn't really hold their attention. Ryan's dorm room loft building company gave the duo some small business experience – both good and bad! Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, they kept searching for a longer-term business venture.

A series of car "troubles" experienced by Rishi and his beloved Ford Probe GT led to a chance encounter with a tow truck driver who used to dabble in screenprinting in a former life. Thinking back to all the custom t-shirts they created in high school for the wide variety of student organizations they were involved in, R&R felt like this was something they could identify with and do well. They decided on the name of A-1 Screenprinting - so they could be the first in the phone book (Click here to find out what a phone book is).

Ryan and Rishi purchased a very basic screenprinting setup, but still had one issue: Where would they produce their shirts? They were pretty sure they couldn't sneak it all into their dorm room. But after some gentle persuading and reassuring, they convinced the now-infamous tow truck driver to let them set up shop in his garage, next to a broken-down Chevy and two golden retrievers who lovingly shared their hair with anything they touched.

Even with this minimalist production facility, A-1 Screenprinting really took off. Ryan and Rishi's approach to customer service on a college campus really set them apart. Their ability to cater to their core college customer and willingness to meet their customers anywhere and at anytime was the driving force behind growth.

Several years later, A-1 Screenprinting purchased another local screenprinter named Underground Printing to expand their production capabilities – and changed their name to something more relevant! Even now, UGP prides itself on its investment into manufacturing and technology.

The same characteristics that set us apart then are the reason we are one of the nation's premier custom apparel providers now: an emphasis on customer service, quality, and convenience. We hope that continuing to concentrate on these things will take us to the next level in the future. Now if only the Ford Probe could have fared as well...

Company Timeline

May 2001
Founded as A-1 Screenprinting in Rishi's University of Michigan Dorm Room.
December 2003
Changes name to Underground Printing (UGP). UGP moves into 3,000 sq ft Shop in Chelsea, MI.
January 2005
UGP moves production from a 3,000 sqf shop to a 12,000 sqf production facility.
January 2006
UGP opens their first Retail Store near campus at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.
September 2006 - December 2007
UGP opens 5 New Retail Stores:
  • Sep '06 Kalamazoo, MI
  • Jan '07 East Lansing, MI
  • July '07 Madison, WI
  • July '07 Champaign, IL
  • Dec '07 West Lafayette, IN
November 2007
UGP moves production from a 12,000 sq ft facility to a state of the art 33,000 sq ft production facility.
June 2008 - November 2008
UGP opens 5 New Retail Stores:
  • June '08 Bloomington, IN
  • July '08 Minneapolis, MN
  • Aug '08 Pittsburgh, PA
  • Sep '08 Evanston, IL
  • Nov '08 Morgantown, WV
April 2009 - October 2009
UGP relocates 2 stores:
  • April '09 Bloomington, IN
  • Oct '09 Ann Arbor, MI (South University location)
March 2010
UGP purchases historic Moe Sport Shops in Ann Arbor, MI.
March 2010 - August 2010
UGP opens 3 New Retail Stores:
  • March '10 Lexington, KY
  • Aug '10 Iowa City, IA
  • Sep '10 Ann Arbor, MI (Main Street location)
May 2011
UGP expands production facility from 33,000 sq ft to 55,000 sq ft.
July 2011
UGP opens Retail Store in Lincoln, NE near campus at the University of Nebraska.
August 2012 - September 2012
UGP opens two New Retail Stores:
  • Aug '12 UGP opens 5th location in Ann Arbor near the "Big House" - Michigan Stadium
  • Sep '12 Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, NC
July 2013
UGP opens Retail Store in Norman, OK near campus at the University of Oklahoma.
July 2014
UGP employment reaches 150 people.
December 2014
UGP adds 2nd shift to production.
April 2015
UGP employment reaches 200 people.
August 2015
UGP adds 3rd shift to production.
September 2015
UGP launches a revamped POGO system for online group orders.
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March-August 2016
UGP adds retail collections to Pittsburgh, PA. and Evanston, IL.
August 2016
UGP opens Retail Store in Toledo, OH near campus at the University of Toledo.
September 2016
UGP opens Bo, a retail store featuring Official Bo Schembechler Brand apparel in Ann Arbor, MI near campus at the University of Michigan.
November 2016
UGP adds three more automatic presses to the shop, bringing the total count to 12 automatic presses and 11 manual presses.