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COVID-19 and the decorated apparel industry
As the current novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, continues to spread, the decorated apparel industry starts to figure out its new normal regarding daily operations

COVID-19 Updates: The Decorated Apparel Industry’s Response


As the new coronavirus, known as COVID-19, continues to spread, and the Centers for Disease Control provides new updates and recommendations on the pandemic, the decorated apparel industry starts to figure out its new normal regarding daily operations.

Printwear will continue to update this list as more developments come to our attention. 

Updates as of March 26:

JDS announces that all JDS/JDS Sign Supply warehouses are open nationwide. "Due to our support of other declared essential businesses and industries, we have been classified as an essential business," says the company. Its Sioux Falls, South Dakota HQ is also open and reachable by phone or online. JDS asks customers to avoid will call. For questions, call 800-843-8853.

Updates as of March 25:

Tex Visions tells customers it has been exempt from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is resuming limited operations. It’s temporarily open for business and permitted to manufacture products for “life-sustaining entities and other businesses operating within the scope of permitted activities.” It suspends order pickup from the store location, most team members are working remotely, on-site workers are practicing social distancing, and offices are cleaned and sanitized daily. 

In an email update, Independent Trading Co. says its offices are working from home and its California and Pennsylvania warehouses are working and shipping out items. The company encourages customers to choose a shipping option, but will call is available for wholesale orders at warehouse locations. Customers are to wait outside for orders. Its California warehouse will be closed March 28–31 for inventory. Call 949-366-9911 or email info@independenttradingco.com with questions.

Updates as of March 24:

GSG updates customers via letter, stating that all branches are open, but contactless curbside service is running at all locations. Orders can be placed either online at www.gogsg.com or 800-366-1776. All deliveries will be left at doors or docks. All Delivery and City Sales are to wear protective gloves and masks, and GSG is practicing social distancing and requesting team members to keep 6 feet distance from anyone. 

Ed Levy of Hirsch Solutions Inc. tells Printwear that the company is doing its best to operate as usual, with a focus on helping the industry. Many offices are closed due to government orders, and the organization is equipped to work remotely. Levy says the company is focusing on education, offering expertise, and hosting virtual assistance. This help is extended to all, regardless if they are an existing customer. He adds, “I am asking other business leaders in our industry to do the same. Do what it takes to create a stronger industry. Replace your drive for profits with a drive for compassion. We can prevail, but we must band together and join forces for the greater good!”

Updates as of March 23:

ColDesi’s president Scott Colman sends an email to customers with some words of encouragement and a link to free downloadable art created by the ColDesi team. The artwork aims to unite the industry at this time, and Colman encourages the industry to spread positivity. ColDesi is answering all support calls, continues to provide live online training, and release podcast episodes, and many team members are working remotely. 

Gildan puts out a statement stating that effective March 17, the Honduran government mandated a seven-day closure of all private enterprises, which now extends to March 29. Gildan also announces the temporary suspension of production at all of its manufacturing facilities until mid-April. “This will allow us to respect government recommendations and align production and inventory levels with current demand requirements,” says the company. All distribution centers where Gildan sells its products remain open for the time being.

Updates as of March 21:

All Stahls’ locations, except Stahls’ Hotronix and Stahls’ DFC in Pennsylvania, continue to remain open. Stahls’ and Transfer Express both have reduced customer service business hours (8 a.m. – 7 p.m. EST), as well as help available online 24/7. Hotronix support is only available via email (techsupport@hotronix.com). Additionally, Stahls’ suspends all customer pickup locations until April 6 or further notice. As long as shipping companies remain operational, Stahls’ will ship orders.

Updates as of March 20:

With California’s Safer at Home order in place, BELLA+CANVAS’s Los Angeles distribution warehouse will temporarily close. The company’s president Chris Blakeslee expects “a full interruption of operations next week and potentially for the duration of the California mandate, which does not have a defined end date.” The cutoff for orders is 4 p.m. PT on March 20. Most of the company’s other distribution center remains open and operational. 

In an email update, ColDesi announces a few initiatives it’s launching during this time. These include free art, technique support, virtual training days, live online demos, free custom apparel startups courses, ColDesiDaily, and special pricing on some items. For questions, call 877-793-3278. 

In a letter to customers, Headwear USA says business is running as usual, with its factories in China not being affected. However, with canceled flights and routes worldwide, that would otherwise carry a lot of freight, there are potential problems on the horizon. Although Headwear USA hasn’t experienced significant delays on offshore order, it warns that it could change. “If capacity problems continue into the future, we will see freight prices increase,” the email reads.

Insta Graphic Systems closes its Cerritos, California facilities, and suspends operations until April 6 due to the order in California that all non-essential businesses must close. Contact your sales associate if you have an order in progress.

Tina Liu, Otto International’s marketing manager, says in an email, “Due to a statewide mandatory stay-at-home order, our California office will be closed starting Friday, March 20, 2020, until further notice. We will not have anyone on-site to assist with walk-in/will-call orders.” The company’s Texas and Georgia offices remain open and operational. Customers can still place orders online. The company is reachable via phone, email, or live chat. 

Following California’s order, Pima Apparel closes its offices until further notice. The company is responding via email (info@pimaapparel.com) during this time.

Following New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s orders, Royal Apparel will temporarily close and tells customers in an email that it will provide updates as they’re available. 

Due to an order issued from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf that all non-life-sustaining businesses must close (as of Thursday, March 19 at 8 p.m.), Tex Visions must cease operations and halt production. It cannot accept any new orders or send any pending ones into production. Any orders in production but have not yet shipped are on hold under further notice. The company is taking questions via its online chat or email

Updates as of March 19:

In a Facebook update to followers, Custom Ink announces the temporary closure of all its store locations. The company adds, “We are still working and would be very glad to handle all of your needs over the phone, chat, or email.”

In an email update from UK-based MagnaColors, chairman Tom Abbey says all departments are running as usual but with special measures. The company is not accepting on-site visitors, and procedures are in place to reduce contact and contamination. “We are bringing in extra stocks of many of our raw materials to mitigate risks to supply shortages,” Abbey adds.

Otto International tells Printwear it’s operating as usual while considering city, state, and CDC guidelines. Its showroom is closed, and it’s limiting will-call and walk-in customers.

Updates as of March 18:

Fruit of the Loom’s senior vice president of global activewear Tony Iannuzzi says its global office location employees are working remotely this week. Its production facilities and distribution centers are being educated on safe hygiene practices. Outside visitors are not permitted at this time, and the company is encouraging social distancing and increasing cleaning procedures. Iannuzzi doesn’t anticipate any disruption to services. 

Andrew Oransky, president and CEO of Roland DGA Corporation, says in an email update that the company’s Irvine, California office is working fully remote through March 31. Roland DGA promises to “perform vital business functions from individual locations to the extent possible” and utilize its “technology infrastructure” it has in place. Customers may experience delays in response times, but its distribution center remains operating at a separate location, with shipping expected to run as usual.

Updates as of March 17:

BNI Inks tells Printwear it’s continuing ink manufacturing operations as usual but considering necessary cautions. Irfan Zaidi, director of operations, says the company is trying to deliver inks as efficiently as possible “to help fellow screen printers keep running without a hold.” Additionally, BNI Inks is offering customer credits and extended credit payments so businesses can “stand strong amongst these tough times and continue their operations.”

Coastal Business Supplies is fully operational, and intends to remain this way, but does have employees working from home. In terms of current stock, the company tells Printwear it “always holds safety stock levels to maintain service levels” and serve the needs of its customers and their businesses. 

In a letter to its customers, Outdoor Cap announces it is operational during this time. However, the company has many employees working from home, is practicing social distancing in all facilities, and canceling or postponing all travel. Communication via phone, email, and online chat remains intact, and Outdoor Cap encourages businesses to reach out with unexpected needs. Its three distribution centers continue to ship orders, and same-day shipping is available on orders placed before 2 p.m. CT.

Madeira USA continues to ship products while following CDC guidelines. The company has suspended walk-ins and pickups until further notice. For those that work in the office, Madeira USA reconfigured workspaces to follow social distancing recommendations, and some employees are working from home. 

Justin Schierkolk, marketing manager for Melco, tells Printwear it is still able to process and ship orders from its Westminster, Colorado headquarters. However, many employees are working from home. All customer service staff is available to help via email and phone during this time.

RhinoTech’s director of marketing Shelley Markus says the company is open while continuing to monitor information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). RhinoTech is practicing various CDC recommendations, including handwashing with soap for 20 seconds, social distancing, sanitizing surfaces, staying home if ill, etc. Customers are encouraged to call 651-686-5027 or use the company’s online store for assistance.

Tex Visions, in an email to customers, says it’s available 24/7 via online chat or email, and by phone during regular business hours. The company continues to manufacture and ship orders while the majority of the team works remotely to reduce the disruption of services. Its pickup location is not open at this time. 

Manufacturing is operating as usual but with new procedures, according to Kevin Sweeney, director of sales and CEO at Triangle Ink Company. “Gloves and masks are being worn by all production floor employees. We end production an hour early to clean and disinfect all work stations. All office personnel is working remotely from their homes,” Sweeney tells Printwear.

Updates as of March 16:

Alphabroder/Prime Line announces, in a letter to customers, the temporary suspension of “all travel and field sales visits” by its outside sales team. Its distribution centers and production facilities remain open, and customers can order as usual. It has a contingency plan in place should facilities need to close temporarily.

Jeremy Picker, CEO of AMB3R Creative, says his team is working remotely for two weeks “to stay protected.” He notes that his team is all cloud-based, but he’s holding everyone more accountable and increasing communication. “We’re doing Google Hangouts daily to talk about the day and what needs to be done.” He adds that vendors are all working regular shifts right now, but things could change at any moment.

Augusta Sportswear introduces the Worry-Free Return Policy for businesses dealing with canceled orders. “On blank goods sold and shipped after March 12, 2020, we will take returns on those goods for full refunds on any canceled events until communicated otherwise. We’re here to support you!” says Augusta. The company has also increased the frequency and thoroughness of cleaning throughout offices and distribution centers. Additionally, it has modified its paid time off policy, so employees aren’t impacted by lost income or benefits if ill.

In an email to customers, BELLA+CANVAS president Chris Blakeslee says it’s committed to maintaining its production and shipping schedule. To do this, the apparel company lowers pricing on key styles, maintains stock across its distribution network, implements disinfecting shifts throughout the day in all facilities, and provides resources to help businesses adjust during this time.

GSG president Mark Granberry tells Printwear business is doing good and “hasn’t dropped considerably and is up a little bit over last year.” However, he expects it will slow as companies react to the situation. “Currently, anyone who is able to work from home is working from home, with a few folks in the branches to handle walk-in traffic, etc.” GSG restricts almost all travel and vendor visits to its facilities, employs more rigorous cleaning, and is efficiently following CDC guidelines while making deliveries and service calls not resolvable by phone. He adds, “We will be evaluating daily the level of business activity and reacting accordingly.”

Howard Custom Transfers tells customers that it continues to maintain business operations without disruption. The company remains open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT. The company says it will do its best to accommodate customer needs and extend the ordering cutoff time for same-day shipping, if necessary.

JDS Industries president and CEO Scott Sletten says its factories in China are doing much better than they were a few weeks ago and are now back in production and starting to ship products. Customers can expect some delays on certain products. To reduce the risk of illness spreading at its headquarters, some employees are working remotely. JDS has a plan in place should the office need to close at any time. At this time, JDS encourages shops to order online.

Taylor Landesman of Lawson Screen and Digital Products tells Printwear that operations remain on a regular schedule, and staff travel is limited. The company is following CDC precautions with sick employees, cleaning, and limiting contact. “We are implementing a work from home (policy) where possible,” he adds.

OmniPrint International ensures it’s taking the necessary precautions to maintain the safety and health of its employees, customers, and products. President and CEO Victor Peña says its American-based manufacturing facilities continue to operate, and its work from home policies have expanded. OmniPrint has six months’ worth of raw materials for the production of inks and consumables. Peña says, “We will have exciting, new web-based shows, entrepreneur sessions that bring a ton of value directly to you, so stay tuned.”

The chief visionary officer at Ryonet Ryan Moor tells Printwear it’s launching a campaign #dontstopthepresses to “gather ideas and positive messaging in the industry during this time.” The company also plans to host virtual events and education opportunities, like the ShamROQ event, on March 17, as industry events cancel and postpone due to the virus. The Ryonet team has gone 50% remote and is still shipping packages.

Based in Seattle, Washington, a COVID-19 hotpot, SanMar Corp. says it has an “up-close view” of the virus. President Jeremy Lott and founder Marty Lott report that sadly, some SanMar employees have lost loved ones to the illness. No employees have contracted the virus. The entire office team is working remotely, and SanMar is fully operational. Currently, the company’s core basics are available at lower pricing.

Sockprints co-founder Hayley Mullin tells Printwear it’s doing its best to get orders out while also following CDC recommendations. It’s ramping up cleaning procedures, amending work hours, and tightening the production schedule to three days this week to minimize contact. Mullin adds, “We’re fortunate our processes are somewhat portable and contained (DTG printers, computers, ink cartridges, etc.), making it easy to transport if necessary. As long as the internet is working and the mail is being delivered, we can keep production going.”


For information on how the awards and engraving industry is operating, check out A&E’s coverage on the topic here. For the latest in the sign industry, check out Sign & Digital Graphics’ coverage here.

If you’re a supplier or manufacturer in the decorated apparel industry and you want to share how day-to-day operations look in the wake of COVID-19, please reach out to Allee Bruce at .

Got a news tip? Contact Alexandria Bruce