Helping to meet demand for custom designs not only from local customers, but from those throughout the region, the T-Shirt Shack in George West has quickly carved a niche that is keeping its owners busy.
Lindsay Carpenter and Mandie Jones owned the business in March, and since then customers not only from Live Oak County have made orders, but also those from Karnes City, Gregory-Portland and Navarro. Southwest Texas Junior College (located in Uvalde) also had the T-Shirt Shack create its rodeo shirts.
“We also do lots of oilfield stuff, caps and embroidery,” Carpenter said. “We can even work on vinyl – just about everything but paper.”
Although the word T-shirt is in the business’ name, the focus goes far beyond that popular style of apparel. The T-Shirt Shack has made uniforms for the George West Independent School District cheerleaders, and also shirts for city of George West employees working for the animal control department.
Lifelong friends – “more like sisters, really,” Carpenter said – Carpenter and Jones had long talked about opening a business together. Before doing so, Carpenter had worked for R&R Boutique and Jones was employed by Saenz Construction.
“I’ve been doing T-shirts for four or five years,” Carpenter said. “Finally, there was an opportunity to open our own shop.”
Business quickly took off with the T-Shirt Shack being commissioned to provide more than 200 T-shirts for the George West Education Foundation and more than 300 shirts for GWISD’s Little Olympics. There were also smaller jobs for Live Oak County Veterinary Services and the county health department.
In addition, there have been several orders by local residents wanting their custom designs placed on T-shirts, as well as businesses ordering company logos on shirts, caps and aprons.
The business also displays some pre-made shirts for sale in their location at 600 San Marcos St. on the east side of the Live Oak County Courthouse.
“We’ve been so busy with orders that we haven’t had time to fully stock our shop,” Jones said.
While all aspects of the creativity of the business and being able to provide customers with the services they need appeals to them, Carpenter said, it’s the embroidery work she really likes.
“We do lots of embroidery,” she said.
Asked what she enjoys most about the business, Carpenter said the overwhelming positive response from the community stands out.
“The community support has been incredible,” she said. “It’s so neat to see our designs in the community when you go to sporting events, on the aprons of restaurant staff at lunch or when people are taking care of rescue dogs. It’s rewarding.”
Asked about the businesses biggest challenges, Jones said, “It’s just the two of us,” adding that she hopes the business can eventually expand and add other employees.
“Absolutely,” Carpenter said. “Bigger and better.”
The supply line delays and shortages caused by COVID-19 and its aftermath are another obstacle.
“Ordering items and being able to have them shipped to us has been difficult at times,” Carpenter said. She noted that one style of cap is particularly hard to get in stock, with items on back order and no set time given for when those might be sent.
The T-Shirt Shack has already done quite a bit of work for Miller Environmental of Corpus Christi, Carpenter said, helping to spread the word about the business, and many of those ordering items are repeat customers.
While the store, which is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, has plenty of George West spirit items in stock, Carpenter said they are also able to do items for Three Rivers fans and supporters of other schools as well, based on customer requests and demand.
Carpenter said the T-Shirt Shack is a strong supporter of the George West Athletic Booster Club, selling the club’s flags in the store and giving 100% of the proceeds to that organization. It is also a member of the George West Chamber of Commerce.
“We hope people will stop in and see us,” she said. “We love to talk to people.”
For more information, visit the business’ Facebook page.