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 screen printing 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 Screen printing - 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 screen printing 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 Screen printing 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 Screen printing purchased another local screen printer 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...
- In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, UGP launches a t-shirt fundraiser with 100% of net proceeds going to participating local businesses.
- 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 screen printing 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.
- After the Tree of Life Synagogue tragedy in Pittsburgh, PA, UGP teams up with the Pittsburgh Steelers for distribution of 'Stronger Than Hate' t-shirts with proceeds going to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh - Fund of Victims of Terror.
- 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.
- Seven new UGP office locations opened up: Indianapolis, IN in July, Grand Rapids, MI in August, Boston, MA, Traverse City, MI and Detroit, MI in October, and Charlotte, NC and a second in Minneapolis, MN in November.
- Additionally, in October we launched a newly redesigned UndergroundShirts.com in November we added four new digital machines in our main facility.
- In March, UGP added retail collections to Pittsburgh, PA. and Evanston, IL.
- In August, UGP opens a retail store in Toledo, OH near campus at the University of Toledo.
- In September, UGP opens Bo, a retail store featuring Official Bo Schembechler Brand apparel in Ann Arbor, MI near campus at the University of Michigan.
- In November, UGP adds three more automatic presses to the shop, bringing the total count to 12 automatic presses and 11 manual presses.
- 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.
- UGP employment reaches 150 people in July, and in December UGP adds a 2nd shift to production.
- UGP opens Retail Store in Norman, OK near campus at the University of Oklahoma, in July.
UGP opens two New Retail Stores:
- September '12 Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, NC
- August '12 UGP opens 5th location in Ann Arbor near the "Big House" - Michigan Stadium
- UGP opens store in Lincoln, NE near campus at the University of Nebraska, in July.
- In May, UGP expands production facility from 33,000 sq. ft. to 55,000 sq. ft.
UGP opens 3 New Retail Stores:
- September '10 - Ann Arbor, MI (Main Street location)
- August '10 - Iowa City, IA
- March '10 - Lexington, KY
In March, UGP purchases historic Moe Sport Shops in Ann Arbor, MI.
UGP relocates 2 stores:
UGP opens 5 New Retail Stores:
- November '08 - Morgantown, WV
- September '08 - Evanston, IL
- August '08 - Pittsburgh, PA
- July '08 - Minneapolis, MN
- June '08 - Bloomington, IN
UGP opens four new Retail Stores:
- December '07 - West Lafayette, IN
- July '07 - Madison, WI
- July '07 - Champaign, IL
- January '07 - East Lansing, MI
In November, UGP moves production from a 12,000 sq. ft. facility to a state of the art 33,000 sq. ft. production facility.
- 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.
- UGP moves production from a 3,000 sqf shop to a 12,000 sqf production facility.
- Changes name to Underground Printing (UGP). UGP moves into 3,000 square foot Shop in Chelsea, MI.
- Founded as A-1 Screen printing in Rishi's University of Michigan Dorm Room.