- Chris Markey has created a culture of teamwork as he’s grown 2 The Tee Outfitters from his basement into a 17,000-square-foot facility in Emigsville.
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Chris Markey has never screen printed a T-shirt in his life, but it hasn’t stopped him from producing thousands of printed and embroidered jerseys, tees, hats, and gear to athletes and corporate clients throughout the area every year since launching 2 The Tee Outfitters in 2006.
“I started in my basement with a laptop,” Chris says today from his 17,000-square-foot facility in Emigsville.
A long-time youth and high school sports coach, Chris was frustrated with the seasonal process of sorting out boxes of unlabeled tees, trying to get the right size to the right athlete.
The printing companies would bring boxes of jerseys and dump them at his door. He’d be left to spend hours figuring out which gear went with which player.
Chris saw an opportunity.
He created individualized web stores where coaches and corporate clients could allow their members to order for themselves. Products would be delivered labeled for each individual.
Growing a team, expanding a space
In 2015, as his business grew to include in-house production, Chris began building a team of employees with the same passion for mentoring youth through sports.
“My employees are my greatest asset,” he says. “I try to create a culture of positivity.”
Many of his employees, or co-employees as he calls them, are fellow youth coaches.
Chris, who has coached everything from football to baseball to his current role as assistant coach for the boys’ varsity lacrosse team at Susquehannock High School, loves having that culture of teamwork at 2 The Tee.
As his team has grown, he’s gone from working out of his basement to renting a warehouse to buying his own production facility earlier this year.
Throughout his expansion process, Chris has focused on making sure his team has the right tools to do a quality job.
“I’m not out to make the big bucks,” he says. “I don’t have a big house or an extra car — I have a direct-to-screen printer.”
Community over sales
With 16 years under his belt at 2 The Tee and decades more before that of running restaurants, managing college rentals, and selling mortgages, Chris has seen a shift in his mindset.
While he still loves the challenge of succeeding where people have told him he’ll fail, he has come to embrace the value of community over sales.
“If you own a business,” he says, “you have to understand and care about your community.”
He’s always looking for ways to encourage young athletes and build up his team on and off the field.
And whether he’s overseeing a shipment of embroidered baseball caps or coaching his lacrosse team, he strives to live by this motto: “Don’t make an impression, make an impact.”