906 apparel comes to Marquette

906 apparel comes to Marquette

Jamie Glenn

A popular Ishpeming storefront is getting a second location here in Marquette. The Northern Michigan native and creator of “Yooper Shirts” Jeremy Symons looks to tentatively open his second store in early May, where local store Casualties once stood.

Symons turned an idea into a reality when he opened “Yooper Shirts” in 2009. He merged his love of graphic design and clothing together to create something unique that stamps the 906 area code. He wanted to give both natives and visitors clothing they’re proud to show off.

“I really wanted to do something with those two aspects [graphic design and clothing] so I moved away numerous times after high school, but I ended up coming back to the Upper Peninsula. I was just inspired by the area,” Symons said. “I thought I wanted to create some cool clothing, something I felt that I would wear.” Symons took the simple route when claiming the name of his business. “Yooper Shirts” was born after a quick domain search of a name that represents what they do and where they’re from, he said.

“I like to represent the U.P. in a positive light. I think the simplistic and modern artwork that I create is clean and classy,” Symons said. “I feel Yoopers have always been perceived as something else. I always wanted to create a brand that represented Yoopers the way I see them.”

The company first launched in 2009 strictly as an online platform. They expanded into their first retail shop in West Ishpeming in 2013.

“We kept growing the brand and releasing new designs and in 2011 we started printing all the gear in-house, ourselves. We printed a bunch of gear for local schools and events, organizations and different businesses,” Symons said. “When I got my equipment we just kept growing faster because we could produce stuff more often.”

Screen printing is also a large component of “Yooper Shirts” that Symons is always learning new things about. Every day he is trying to expand his business and customers and create new designs.

“I did a lot of research, what works, what doesn’t work. We got the equipment, we just had to start from the ground. I never had any experience in screen printing before. I got the equipment, set up and just went for it,” Symons said. “We’ve been printing since 2011, for six years now, every day and we’re still learning.”

The production of the Yooper apparel will continue in the Ishpeming storefront space. The new Marquette location will be used to display popular design products as well as new products.

The new storefront came about after Symons was contacted by the owner of Casualties in September of 2016.

“They [Casualties] thought it would be a good fit. They wanted to sell it to somebody who’d sell similar products that they sold,” Symons said. “They really cared about who bought that location. We decided to close on it in February. I thought being centrally located with the Marquette community would be a good fit for us.”

Symons would like to see what returning students have to offer the store when they come back. The goal is to be open by early May to get the name out to the community and catch the summer drift of people, he said.

“We kind of want to be easy and accessible to people, be in Marquette where there’s a lot more traffic. I’m excited to keep growing the business and meet new people,” he said.