Students looking for unique attire for a night out will sometimes give the staff at
Pasteurized Tees on Elmwood the shirt off their back.
Owner Michael Bowen and his brother-in-law Colin Griffin say customers can walk in with
an idea, and leave with a customized t-shirt or sweatshirt.
"Think of a tattoo shop, but for t-shirts. You can get any design and font that you want,"
Bowen said. "Just like a tattoo, you want to know what you want before you make a
When customers walk into the store, located at 478 Elmwood Ave., the hardwood floors
guide their eyes to the walls. On one side there is a large selection of blank t-shirts and
sweatshirts for purchase, and on the other side there are sample designs the store has
done. They also have a book full of different fonts to choose from for lettering.
"You're not coming here to get a shirt to wear to church, you're wearing it to the bar,"
Griffin said. "This is the place you come before you go out if you can't decide what to wear."
Customers can bring in their own shirt and pay the design fee of $6.50 or $9.50 based on
the size and design desired. They can also choose from a selection of t-shirts, hoodies, v-
necks and tank tops. The store charges between $20-$22 for American Apparel shirts, $12-
$16 for Gildan brand shirts and $50 for a hoodie plus design fees for all of them.
"We've even had people come in and take the clothes off their back to get something done,"
Bowen said. "We have done shirts for girlfriends of Sabres and Bills players and having
them spread the word out is great."
Doug Williams, the athletic director at Oracle Charter School, is a regular customer at
"These guys do amazing work, I've been coming to them for 6-7 months for athlete of the
month shirts and tournament champion shirts," Williams said.
Lindsay Taylor, a Buffalo State alumnus, comes to the store regularly to make shirts for his
Crown Entertainment business and has formed a close relationship with Bowen.
"It's good to form bonds with customers, that way they spread the word to other people
about the good work we do and the domino effect occurs," Bowen said.
Once customers decide what they want, the owners show them a couple options on a
television on the wall connected to their computer screen. They then send the design to a
printer where they peel and stick it on a shirt. It then uses a heating process instead of silk
screen. This melts the roll of ink to any type of fabric, like a shirt, sweatshirt or even baby
The store has been open since June 2011 and is trying to draw more students in. Their
main demographic is between 15 and 40 years old, but the store is looking to reach out to
Buff State since it is farther down Elmwood.
It is a shop that only takes orders in small quantities, because no matter how many shirts
are ordered, the same process, which takes about twenty minutes, has to be done for each
shirt. Bowen said they send the bulk orders to Positive Approach down Elmwood who does
silk screen printing in mass quantities.
Griffin said they get mainly foot traffic business from people walking by, and not
many students are walking this far down Elmwood. Although they spend no money on
advertising, they tend to get a lot of younger kids because of word of mouth, which is their
main form of advertising.
"UB has asked us to advertise in their paper The Spectrum, but I want to stay away from
paid advertising. I want to continue to push for Buff State students and their business,"
Bowen said. "We want to get more involved with Buff State, whether it be homecoming
shirts, or for club or bar league sports teams," Bowen said.
Pasteurized Tees is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. everyday except Tuesday when the store is
only open until 6:30. They are closed on Sundays.
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