If you’re a golfer, you might look at your fellow golfers and think there is a new pro shop here in Englewood. Upon closer inspection, you’ll realize that Premier Tee’s is one of the biggest T-shirt businesses around.

John and Barb Mead have been making T-shirts locally for well over a decade. During that time, the amount of shirts they’ve made and number of customers they’ve befriended is a testament to their quality of work and the service they provide.

John got his start on Florida’s East Coast, selling shirts to customers as to commemorate concerts and events. He soon found he had a knack for producing high-quality shirts and the ability to come up with unique designs or the different events.

John came down here from Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, in 1989. Barb hails from Illinois, arriving in 1979. They both served a brief stint in the real estate business, he in sales and she in the mortgage business. They met in that line of business and wed, forming a good business relationship. When the real estate market hit hard times, John began designing shirts.

Since they both had a marketing background, they realized the importance of taking care of their customers and treatingeach one as a life-long friend.

Matter of fact, that’s what Barb noted as most important in any type of business. It doesn’t hurt that they’re very involved in the local community with membership in Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary, the Chamber of Commerce, the Moose, the Englewood Area Board of Realtors, and serving on the Stillwater homeowners association. They are also involved in the Englewood Area Cancer Foundation, Englewood Beach WaterFest, the F.A.M.E. Music Festival and the Englewood Elementary School Eagle Run.

It’s their community involvement that’s given them the ability to take their fledgling business and make it one of the largest around, printing well over 2,000 shirts a month for such organizations as Englewood Elementary, Lemon Bay High School, Englewood Pop Warner, Little Gasparilla Island, SandBar Tiki & Grille, Lock ‘N Key Restaurant, Farlow’s On the Water, Looney Electric and hundreds more.

One of the groups they do shirts for is The 85’s, a group of 85-year-olds who play softball and travel the country. (I know one of the players, Hugh Brotherton very well, and I can assure you he can still belt the ball a mile.)

Their name and sphere of influence have grown way past Englewood, as they make shirts for businesses in Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin and many other areas. One business they supply shirts for is a little different than most. It is a yachting business in the Cayman Islands. The owner buys the shirts for his customers and crew. There is also a restaurant there called Nippers that uses Premier Tee’s to help with their marketing.

Barb wanted to make sure I told everyone that their customers are always their friends. With the amount of volume they do and the diversity they offer, I am sure they have many.

Premier Tee’s is at 2780 Worth Ave., Englewood, and their phone number is 941-681-2688

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