About Us

The history of Seattle Shirt Company

In 1978, Al Ashberg started selling t-shirts and printed t-shirt transfers out of his denim jeans store in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. 

11 years later while chasing the Final Four College Basketball Tournament, Al opened his first store in Seattle at 6th and Pike. He named it Souvenir Shirts. His son Jay, then 24, managed the store for him. Their business model was based on Al's original concept of heat transfers, printing shirts for customers daily.

In 1992, Al and Jay opened their flagship store together 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 bought the business from his father. After 10 years of running the family business, Jay saw a need to change from their heat transfer model of the past 34 years and move into the preprint business. It wasn't easy to change something that was such a trademark of the business, but it quickly proved to be a wise and successful move.

One year later, in 2013, Jay opened his second Seattle Shirt store at Pier 55 on the Seattle Waterfront. 4 years later, he opened a new location at Pier 56 called The Seattle Shop at 56. The new store has a different name, look, and a different variety of merchandise, offering customers options and destinations to visit!

Our next venture was outside the city, to the small Bavarian town of Leavenworth. In the Spring of 2018, we opened the Leavenworth Shirt Company store which was immediately successful! Leavenworth is only a couple hours outside of the city so we love to recommend the trip to our visiting customers! We opened a second Leavenworth location, Icicle Creek Clothing, in December of 2021. 

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.

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.