Ideas Tees continues to grow and grow

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John Brockwell stands in front of MTSU merchandise for sale at Ideas Tees location at 910 Ridgely Road, Suite B. TMP/ E. Edgemon
John Brockwell didn’t know when he started his business, Ideas Tees, 24 years ago that he would still be in business today.

He was just looking for a way to quit traveling in his former marketing positions and spend more time with his three daughters, Lauren, Amy and Julie.

All three grew up working in the business.

“It has been a ton of fun,” Brockwell said.

Brockwell started his business printing T-shirts for local schools.

“Schools talk to each other,” he said. “Everyone kept wanting us to sell T-shirts to them.”

The business grew quickly.

“I remember when we were a little bitty shop,” said Amy Brockwell, office manager. “Now we are making stuff for people all across the state and even out of state.”

Last year, Ideas Tees printed some 120,000 shirts most to area schools. Ideas Tees helped schools raise more than $250,000 from the sale of shirts last year.

But the Brockwells weren’t through.

Recently, Ideas Tees became a retailer for MTSU merchandise at its 910 Ridgely Road location. That location is open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

The business also began running Lightning’s Locker Room at Floyd Stadium this week selling MTSU T-shirts and other souvenirs.

Lightning’s Locker Room is open Friday and Saturday at Gate 2 of Floyd Stadium through the football season. Ideas Tees also will set up satellite locations on the MTSU campus on game day.

Phillip’s Bookstore on the MTSU campus previously operated Lightning’s Locker Room.

“We have been pleased with all that has happened with Lightning’s Locker Room but with growth and the demand fans have for Blue Raider gear and other accessories we believe this move will be beneficial,” said MTSU Director of Athletics Chris Massaro in a written statement. “It will provide our fans more merchandise on a weekly basis with a local company serving us and they will have more consistent working hours.”

In addition, to the physical locations Ideas Tees is selling MTSU merchandise through the Web site

“We get orders everyday some from here and some from four or five states away,” Brockwell said, adding that the farthest the company has shipped MTSU merchandise is to Wisconsin.

Ideas Tees works to create unique shirts and merchandise and “in your face” game day shirts, he said.

The company also is working to provide additional sizes that weren’t available prior at Lightning’s Locker Room such as infant, children and women’s sizes as well as adult sizes up to 4X.

Brockwell said the partnership with MTSU can only be good for business. He estimates that sales will increase by at least 25 percent.

“We reenergized (MTSU’s) efforts to provide merchandise for fans,” he said.

Brockwell said it is trying to treat customers right and trying to provide a fair product at a reasonable price that has kept Ideas Tees in business for 24 years.

“Do your best to treat every customer right,” he said. “It goes back to the Golden Rule.”

Working hard shouldn’t be discounted either.

Brockwell said he had a customer once who told him that Ideas Tees might not always make all of his deadlines but seeing them working at 8 p.m. to complete orders means something.

Erin Edgemon can be reached at 869-0812 and at

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Members Opinions:
August 17, 2009 at 4:56pm
Congrats to John and his family and company. He is a class A person and has been great to work with for several years. I am glad that now someone locally will carry more MTSU apparel.
August 19, 2009 at 3:17pm
Congrats to Ideas Tees - great product, service and turnaround.
August 20, 2009 at 12:04pm
Turnaround not so good in at least one case i know of.
September 15, 2009 at 8:26am
John and his family are the best! No doubt they practice that "Golden Rule" philosophy of doing business, but what I love is that they LISTEN to their customers and give them what they ask for. Keep up the good work! :)
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