Posted by Mark Beaulieu on November 23, 2015
The entrepreneurial spirit has always lived strong inside me for as long as I can remember. As a young man living in a small rural town in Northern Maine, the local paper mill was every young man’s dream to be their only job until retirement. I did just that, following in the footsteps of my father, Wilmer Beaulieu, but I was always looking for something more for me and my young family. From selling coffee, pastries and ice-cream at the mill, that business spirit always seemed to beckon me.
The roots of Trenz takes me back to a family vacation and a visit to a big business office box store. That was a treat since we lived three hours from the closest one. It was there that I discovered an opportunity to transfer a picture onto a shirt. No one in my hometown had such a device and I saw a door and opened it. I started dabbling by making shirts for my son Nathan and word quickly spread. Soon, I was making t-shirts for local businesses and recreation department teams. With an increase in demand, ironing letters was no longer a viable option. With a little internet research, I found and purchased my first heat transfer press and PCPrintshop was open for business in my home’s basement.
I continued to make shirts for local clients on my days off from the mill or when I returned home from working a 12 hour shift. I wondered if this could ever be a sustainable business. This notion led to me marketing and selling my shirts on the internet. That transformation of the business model led to our friend and neighbor taking on line orders in a recipe box and creating invoices and receipts. I was running a small production, billing, and shipping department in a 150 square foot basement that had 6 feet of head clearance!
Utilization of the World Wide Web grew my business exponentially. My home basement was no longer an option for all those blank t-shirts and a heat press. I rented a lower level of an existing business in Madawaska, Maine. That move spawned a new name and Trenz Shirt Company was born. I knew that to make it in this industry, my inventory had to evolve with the changes in pop culture, and Trenz seemed like an appropriate name. Very quickly, that lover level storage grew to another location with a storefront and storage room right on main street with walk in traffic. It was in that storefront that I realized my dream of a legacy for my children could be a possible venture. I knew, however, that to make this work full time, I needed help. As I continued to work at the paper mill, my wife Shelly ran the daily operation of the store and led the team of young ladies who were taking orders, invoicing and taking accounts receivables. It was the receipts that I liked seeing the most! My father, who recently retired from the local paper mill, was instrumental in the production process in my absence. He would often come in early in the morning to prepare shirts and fold blanks in preparation for when I came home from my other job, after working the night shift at the mill. It was during those years that I essentially maintained three homes: my family residence, the paper mill and Trenz.
2011 saw a personal and professional opportunity to move to Georgia. My oldest son Nathan was now in college and I had two other school age children, Cameron and Lexi. Shelly and I both knew we had to seize this opportunity. We both felt that if this business could grow in small town America, we could make it in a new town in the South. We proceeded to pack up the family and business and moved everything to Loganville, Georgia, in a trucking company from our home town. We shipped our last package from Madawaska, Maine on a Friday, and were in full operation in Loganville, Georgia by Tuesday.
Loganville opened its doors to us, literally and figuratively. We found a family residence and a warehouse to produce, invoice and ship our clothing. To get the business up and running my wife Shelly and my sister in law Kelly, became the backbones of the business. In a matter of a few months, three new full time employees were hired to help take orders, invoice and package and ship and I was the production department. Location, location, location! Local custom orders of athletic teams, and business was rampant and internet sales were at an all time high. Our staff of 5 full time employees and our current space was just not enough to contain our growth.
Eighteen months later we moved to our current location with the hopes of a production and shipping department in the rear and a store in the front. That transformation was seamless. We were in a higher visibility location for local traffic and the ease of delivery and shipping was flawless. I never thought that we world outgrow that 1500 sq foot space but within months, my brother Dan and a member of his construction crew, flew from Maine to help me with expanding storage and retail space in excess of 10,000 sq ft. Where will the next five years take Trenz Shirt Company? The hard work and commitment of our 18 employees will dictate that direction. I just hope to enjoy the ride.
Thanks to our loyal business partners, clients, distributors, and especially our local customers in Walton County and Metro Atlanta and all of our online customers that have made Trenz what it is today: A family run business that values its workforce and its customers and hopes to become a fixture in the South for years to come.
Thanks for your support and patronage
Mark and Shelly Beaulieu
Trenz Shirt Company