by Sally Mitani
"It's our first off-campus location," says manager Damon Stafford, and by September 8 it will be clear why Underground Printing, one of the few companies officially licensed to sell U-M apparel, opened a branch in Woodland Plaza next to Busch's. September 8 is Michigan's first home game. With the Stadium Blvd. bridge down, the shopping center at the fork where Main meets Ann Arbor-Saline Road is an especially good place to catch the traffic pileup of out-of-town tailgaters who suddenly feel they aren't sporting enough maize and blue. Stafford says they'll definitely be open on football Saturdays and possibly peddling on the street--"that part is kind of up to the city, right now, but we're checking it out."
Underground Printing is a hometown business. Childhood friends Ryan Gregg and Rishi Narayan started a screen printing business while they were in engineering school together at U-M. Now in their early thirties, they have nineteen branches in college towns around the country, all selling officially licensed gear, much of it printed in their enormous factory on Jackson Road. (They also do custom work for high schools, church groups, and clubs.)
Exactly what is worthy of bearing the block M is carefully vetted by U-M, but it isn't just sweatshirts and T-shirts. The inventory at the new store ranges from jersey knit skirts with smocking and ruffles to Crocs (both traditional and loafers made of canvas), to what might be called a dining room set for a tailgate party.
Underground Printing, 2248 S. Main, 274-5494. Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 9 a.m.-9 p.m. undergroundshirts.com
[Originally published in September, 2012.]
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