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About Us - 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

2019

  • UGP continues to expand its production capacity with two more 8-head embroidery machines, ten heat presses, two new large scale dryers, new ten color automatic screenprinting press, new automatic folding machine, and state of the art eco-rinse screen machine and automatic scoop coaters for screen prep. 
  • Two new UGP office locations are opened up: Milwaukee, WI, in August and Boulder, CO, in September.

2018

  • Six new UGP office locations are opened up: Oakland, CA in January, Miami, FL and Cincinnati, OH in May, Seattle, WA and Savannah, GA in July, and Nashville, TN in August.

2017

2016

2015

  • In September, UGP launches a revamped POGO system for online group orders.
  • In April, UGP employment reaches 200 people and just months later in August UGP adds 3rd shift to production.

2014

  • UGP employment reaches 150 people in July, and in December UGP adds a 2nd shift to production.

2013

2012

UGP opens two New Retail Stores:

2011

2010

UGP opens 3 New Retail Stores:

In March, UGP purchases historic Moe Sport Shops in Ann Arbor, MI.

2009

UGP relocates 2 stores:

2008

UGP opens 5 New Retail Stores:

2007

UGP opens four new Retail Stores:

In November, UGP moves production from a 12,000 sq. ft. facility to a state of the art 33,000 sq. ft. production facility.

2006

  • UGP opens our first Retail Store in January near campus at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.
  • Second Retail location is opened in September in Kalamazoo, MI.

2005

  • UGP moves production from a 3,000 sqf shop to a 12,000 sqf production facility.

2003

  • Changes name to Underground Printing (UGP). UGP moves into 3,000 square foot Shop in Chelsea, MI.

2001

  • Founded as A-1 Screenprinting in Rishi's University of Michigan Dorm Room.