A History of the Seattle Shirt Company

Jay Ashberg’s father, Al Ashberg, started selling t-shirts and printed t-shirt transfers out of his denim jeans store in downtown Kansas City, Missouri in 1978.  In 1989 Al opened up his first store in Seattle at 6th and Pike while “chasing” the Final Four College Basketball Tournament and named the store Souvenir Shirts.  His son Jay, then a 24-year-old young man, went to work for Al managing that store and in 1992 Al and Jay together opened their flagship store on the corner of 1st and Pike.  The name of the store was changed to what everyone now knows as the Seattle Shirt Company.  

In 2002 Jay took a huge step and bought the business from his father.  In the middle of 2012, after 34 years of operating the business with mainly heat transfers, Jay decided to change the business model and reinvent and reinvigorate the Pike Street store.  Jay upgraded the store and change it to a store where shirts are already preprinted and ready for purchase, thus abandoning printing transfers onto t-shirts in the store that had become the trademark of the business.  By the end of 2014 this proved to be a wise and successful move.

The Seattle Shirt Company expanded and opened on Seattle’s Waterfront at Pier 55 in 2013.  The store became a hit and equally as successful as the 1st and Pike store within the first year of operation.  With the leadership and expertise of our management team in the purchasing of product, the new preprint business model has led to a very successful formula.  Jay’s belief is that the secret to success is that the customers and the employees have to be happy. The ultimate goal is to provide customers with a pleasant atmosphere to shop, along with very cool and interesting merchandise at a fair price. 

In order to continue growing, in the spring of 2017 the Seattle Shirt Company opened a new location on the Waterfront at Pier 56 called The Seattle Shop at 56.  The new store has a different name, logo, color pattern and look, but still offers the same level of customer service and amazing merchandise. The Seattle Shop is now our largest location and looks to become one of our busiest.

Seattle Shirt Company ventured outside the city and opened in the small Bavarian themed mountain town of Leavenworth, Washington in the Spring of 2018.  The Leavenworth Shirt Company was immediately successful and the entire company enjoys having a store a few hours away from the city to tell the tourists who come to Seattle to take the drive to see. The company is proud to continue to grow and branch out into new and exciting places and help everyone to get the perfect gift to bring home to remember all of Washington.